ICC is not Targeting African States
The post-colonial and neo-colonial complexities and the nuances surrounding the workings of the ICC in Africa have reached crescendo levels. The debate on the ICC versus Africa, which the New African carried as its headline, with a supportive phrase of ‘The scales of Injustice’ indicate the levels of antipathy and blatant disregard for international justice. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the inception of this international tribunal. The ICC has been labeled as a colonial tool, in the same brackets as the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) like World Bank, IMF, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). My reading into the contributions in the March, 2012 issue of the New African suggests that the African continent is not ready to grapple with issues of ending impunity and the largesse of colonial mentality. My emphasis is on the post-colonial discourse in Africa. African philosophy has often been disregarded because of its reactionary critical nature of the Western philosophy. This has hampered the development of unique African thinking and led to the incessant questioning and counter questioning of Western ideals without necessarily reformulating and constructing unique African line of intellectuarism. We end up blaming everything and nothing. African countries and civil societies were heavily involved in the formation of the ICC in Rome. Africa is the continent with the highest number of state parties to the Rome Statute that created the ICC in terms of signatures and ratifications. It is thus surprising that African states mock an institution that they participated in its formation. I understand that the Court has opened cases exclusively in African States. The African States should not hide under the pretentious pretext that the ICC is undermining their sovereignty. They should understand that the ICC is more concerned about the individuals who commit international crimes and not the state per se. Most of the African States are plagued with incessant internal conflicts. The ramifications of these conflicts result in the wanton destruction of human lives, property, societal values and so on. A number of these countries also lack functioning courts of law or political will necessary for holding to justice for crimes of international concern such as crimes against humanity. This is coupled with the culture of impunity brought about by poor national legislative bodies which leave room for international justice to fill the vacuum. The African States should therefore understand that the ICC is not targeting them, but rather, is trying to deal with the culture of impunity and guaranteeing lasting respect for and the enforcement of international justice.