Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Gbagbo's case reveals ICC as a Political Court

Nicodemus Minde
Ivorian national and former President of Cote d' Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo will appear today at a confirmation of charges hearing at the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Laurent Gbagbo together with his spouse Simone allegedly bear individual criminal responsibility as indirect co-perpetrators, for four counts of crimes against humanity; those are murder, rape and other sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts, allegedly committed in the context of post-electoral violence in the territory of Cote d'Ivoire between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011. 

I have always held to high regard the supreme nature of international law and international tribunals. I hold the belief that the ICC is an independent international tribunal that deals with individuals charged with most serious crimes of international concern. Many critics of the Court have however, accused it as being a political court that works at the behest of the Western powers. The charges brought before Gbagbo confirm this allegation. When Gbagbo 'lost' the elections according to Western sources, his opponent Allasane Dramane Ouattara (ADO) became the darling of the West. Gbagbo was indicted by the ICC on the above mentioned charged, a warrant of arrest was placed on him, driven out of Abidjan like a mad man and taken to the Hague.

A critical examination of his role during the Post Election Violence in comparison with those of Kenya in 2007/08, one is left with more questions as to the role of the ICC especially in Africa. If Mr Gbagbo together with his wife Simone are charged implicitly for their indirect involvement in the PEV one will be left aghast as to why Mwai Kibaki, Kenya's president during the disputed elections and the ensuing violence was not charged either direct or indirect for his role as the Head of State. Many Kenyan political commentators have queried this fact with some even asking for yet another player during this time Raila Odinga to be charged. Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto and a number of high ranking officials in Kenya were charged for their role in the PEV. Uhuru and Ruto who are now in the race for the President in Kenya have used this chagrin as their campaign mantra. 

I wait to see if the charges before Gbagbo and his wife will be confirmed or if the Pre-Trial Chamber 1 will decline to confirm. But one thing visible is that the Court is now more than ever seen as a political tribunal more than an independent judicial institution of international repute.

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