The International Criminal Court has come under fire at the ongoing African Union Summit for allegedly failing to uphold principles of the international justice system.
The Hague-based court was accused by AU officials of bias toward African countries and lacking fairness. Dr. Joseph Chilengi, the Presiding Officer of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) of the Union, said that the ICC has failed to adhere to international justice system.
“Europeans would like to impose their solutions such as ICC on Africa. It is clear that ICC is part of the problem of the international justice system. It is a problem rather than a solution,” Dr. Chilengi said. He said that the court had failed in achieving universality just as it had failed in terms of independence.
“The fact is that ICC and its behavior is damaging and raping the international justice system. They claim to be an international court, but from our perspective it is not such. It is a court that represents only one third of the world’s population while we have USA, Russia, China and countries like the world’s largest democracy, India, are not members,” he said. He added that the court had failed to achieve independence by giving the United Nation’s Security Council prosecutorial rights and by its sources of funding.
“The EU provides over 70 per cent of the ICC budget further violating the Rome Statute, which says no one member state can pay more than 22 per cent of the budget and as we know, he who pays the piper calls the tune.” “This is why, no EU, US or NATO soldier or politician will ever appear before the court. This is why allegations of war crimes, genocide in Iraq, Afghanistan continue to go unpunished,” he added.
Further, tearing into the court, the AU official added that the court had used false grounds to persecute Sudan President Omar El Bashir. The court, he said, did not give the Sudanese leader a chance to appear before them before issuing an arrest warrant. “The grounds used to persecute Omar El Bashir were actually false. Confirmations and declarations from American courts show that two Americans, one of them a former American Ambassador to Sudan, falsified information, he revealed.
Dr. Chilengi went ahead to produce statements to prove his statements. Following the Bashir case, Sudan had been subject to sanctions from America and multiple European countries. He noted that the sanctions extended to Sudan were not only illegal but had also greatly affected lives and livelihoods of innocent citizens.
“For Sudan whose president has been indicted for allegation of war crimes, you also have a country such as Sudan under sanctions. Sanctions are illegal in human rights law, you cannot apply sanctions unilaterally unless with the consent of the UN system,” he said. The sanction, he added, have only served to isolate the country from the world and serve the interests of those with interest in Sudan as opposed to justice.
“US has provided a system of applying sanctions on Sudan. For the last 30 years, 70 per cent of the Sudanese population is made up of youth, born after the sanctions were imposed. You have a youthful population suffering for no reason”. He added that the court was losing the confidence of Africans hence the recent calls to withdraw if the court does not change its approach in dealing with Africa.
“Human rights and justice are an absolute requirement for Africa and Africans just like in the rest of the world. ICC is not for Africa, not only is its focus on Africa clouded by racism which is unacceptable, it has persistent allegations of corruption. International justice system must be perfected,” he said. Dr. Babiker Mohamed Tom, an Economist from Sudan, said that sanctions had stopped the social economic development of Sudan and isolated it from the world.
“These sanctions have a very negative impact on the Sudanese economy. They are putting limitation on the economy to move freely and deal through trade and investments with the world economy. The economy is shrinking due to little room for maneuver to have partnership with the international community players,” Dr Mohamed said. He said that bodies such as the IMF and World Bank can no longer issue loans to the country while international firms doing business with Sudan risk fines by the American government.
Due to the state of affairs, he said Sudan had dropped on the list of attracting foreign direct investment, GDP growth had dropped to nearly 1 per cent and inflation is now in double digit figures.