ICC begs African States to Retain Membership
The International Criminal Court president, Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi has pleaded with African member countries to retain their support and membership to the court, so as to strengthen its obligation.
In an appeal, embedded in the annual report of the ICC, Judge Fernandez says that the participation of States and the international community only needs to be maintained and enlarged in order to fight impunity adding that the ICC was not created to compete with states.
This comes barely a fortnight after three African countries Burundi, South Africa, and Gambia announced their intention to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the Court, claiming the court has been used to persecute African leaders.
Other African countries like Uganda Kenya and Namibia have in the past criticized the ICC for being biased against African leaders while ignoring atrocities and crimes against humanity masterminded by leaders in Western Countries.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni during his inauguration speech in May 2016 described the ICC as a bunch of useless people.
Uganda became the first country to make a referral to the ICC in December 2003, leading to the indictment of Joseph Kony the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army and four of his top commanders in 2005,.
Over the years, President Museveni has on several occasions described the court as a "biased instrument of post-colonial hegemony.'
His comments started after the same court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan President, Field Marshal Omar Hassan al Bashir for allegedly committing atrocities in Darfur. All the cases so far handled by the court have involved suspects from Africa.
But Judge Fernandez says that the court has embarked on a number of important reforms to enhance the speed and quality of prosecutions and judicial proceedings.
"Since its creation, the Court has made significant achievements in addressing crimes of concern to the international community as a whole such as the use of child soldiers, sexual violence in conflict, attacks on civilians and the destruction of cultural property", she said.