Bias prosecution claims against ICC exaggerated- Emile Short

A former Commissioner of the Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has mounted a vehement defence of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which has been accused of being biased against Africa.

Emile Short believes the criticisms against the ICC are most often unsustainable and over exaggerated.

Instead of concentrating on the supposed persecution of African leaders by the ICC, Short would rather critics focus on justice the ICC gives to the many victims who have suffered from wars in Africa- wars which were the result of bad leadership from African presidents.

The conduct of the ICC was a subject of controversy, Thursday, during the first international forum on the ICC held at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).

Ghana’s Deputy Attorney General Dominic Ayine was the first to flay the ICC accusing it of selectively prosecuting African leaders.

To date, the ICC has opened investigations into nine situations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Uganda; the Central African Republic; Darfur, Sudan, the Republic of Kenya; Libya; the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire; the Republic of Mali and the Central African Republic II.

The ICC has publicly indicted 39 people and issued arrest warrants for 31 individuals and summons to eight others.

Eight persons are in detention. Proceedings against 25 are ongoing: nine are at large as fugitives, four are under arrest but not in the Court’s custody, two are in the pre-trial phase, and ten are at trial.

Dominic Ayine stated in clear, unambiguous terms that African leaders are suffering from selective prosecution by the ICC and challenged members of the ICC to take the accusation seriously.

“The ball is in her court literally to also address issues of perception and some will dare say the reality of selective prosecution. We are here today because of the fact that there is a widely held belief that the court is selectively targeting Africans for prosecution.

“And you will agree with me that selective prosecution is unacceptable as a norm of constitutional justice. Therefore it is incumbent on the court to make good faith effort to ensure fairness in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion,” he told the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda who was also present at the GIMPA forum.

But Fatou Bensouda was quick to rebut the claims by Ayine. She argued most of the cases investigated by the ICC are cases the Africans themselves brought before the ICC.

She said once those cases have been referred to the ICC “we have the obligation to investigate and bring evidence before the judges.”

Speaking to Joy News, Emile Short agreed with the assertion of the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC.

He argued when crimes are committed in member countries, the ICC has a duty to investigate those crimes and bring justice to both the victims and the perpetrators.

There have been attempts by the African Union to seek immunity from prosecution to sitting heads of state in Africa but Emile Short believes such a protocol will not be in the interest of Africa. If anything, he said that will only make African leaders become despots and will not be accountable to their citizens.

“The allegation that sitting heads of state must have immunity is not based on the Rome Status,” he noted.

He stated however that there have been some investigations in Korea, China and other countries where there have allegations of human rights abuses but conceded that there has to be some “reforms at the ICC” which will make the western powers a little more objective than they are now.

He was unequivocal that most of heinous political crimes have been committed in Africa and “we should concentrate on the African situation and how to get justice for the African victims.

“People were killed and raped in Kenya in other african countries. It is the African leaders who caused it,” he stated.


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