ACCRA—The so-called International Criminal Court (ICC) is an organization that sits somewhere in The Hague somewhere in a country called the Netherlands. It was ostensibly established and began its work on July 1, 2002 when the so-called Rome Treaty came into force.  It claims on its website that its mandate is to try individuals for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Two African countries Burundi and South Africa recently announced their decision to withdraw from this kangaroo court. Why is this important and what should other African countries do?

The ICC since its inception in July 2002 has only prosecuted African countries and African leaders ostensibly for crimes against humanity. Some Africans will argue that African countries and their leaders are notorious for using violence on their own populations so they deserve to be prosecuted for such crimes and that the ICC is the best venue for such an enterprise.

That is an interesting proposition. Let us dissect it. The United Kingdom, a small Island country in northern Europe which signed the ICC treaty on November 30, 1998 and formally acceded to it October 4, 2001. The UK under its leader Tony Blair in 2003 took part in the criminal and legally unjustified (by international law) invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq with the supposed goal to remove weapons of mass destruction that they claimed that Iraq possessed.

This claim was an outright lie concocted by half-men. The result of this was the destruction of Iraq and the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in an illegal occupation following the war against Iraq. We note that at the time of the UK’s participation in the Iraq war, it was a signatory to the Rome Treaty and formally part of the ICC. But we do not see the ICC indicting and trying Tony Blair for war crimes!

This despicable war criminal is still walking around living peacefully his putrid existence on the planet earth. Since the ICC is selective in its application of justice, that disqualifies it from trying anybody for war crimes or crimes against humanity.

The US which orchestrated the illegal war on Iraq has refused to join the ICC claiming that its soldiers and citizens could be prosecuted for war crimes, so technically it cannot be held to the same standards as other nations that are signatory to the ICC. But the US still continues to scream and threaten other countries to send them to the ICC for war crimes.

The most recent case of such US doublethink was the accusation of war crimes against nuclear armed super power Russia due to Russian support of the Assad government in Syria in wresting control of East Aleppo from moderate head chopping Jihadi terrorists. They claim that Russian airstrikes have been bombing and killing civilians. This is in reaction to their loss of hegemony in the Middle East following Russia’s intervention in Syria.

But let us look at the record. The US has on numerous occasions bombed and killed civilians’ in war zones. The most recent happening on Friday October 21, 30 km from the city of Kirkuk in Northern Iraq where US airstrikes bombed a funeral procession killing many women and children. But she is mute on this affair and not calling for an indictment of war crimes on itself.

Another recent incidence was when an intimate US ally Saudi Arabia on October 10 bombed a funeral hall in Yemen, a sovereign country in West Asia, killing over 150 civilians including women and children. The US has not threatened to accuse Saudi Arabia of war crimes or refer it to an international body for prosecution.  The clown Ban Ki-Moon parading as UN secretary-general condemned the bombing but did not squeal a word about war crimes committed by Saudi Arabia since apparently war crimes are only committed by non-western blocks of countries. To be fair, Saudi Arabia is a not party to the Rome Treaty of the ICC.

The naked double standards of western controlled organizations like the ICC where mass murderers like George Bush and Tony Blair and Wahhabi bombers like the rulers of Saudi Arabia can go scot free enjoying their noxious existence while African countries and leaders with less blood on their hands can get prosecuted calls for a total evaluation of African involvement in such organizations.

The decision of African countries like Burundi and South Africa should be applauded and other African countries should follow suit.  The fact that there are some black faces strategically put in the panel of 18 judges of the ICC does not change its essence as an anti-African tool and a geopolitical sledge hammer to be used against enemies of the west. We now well understand these funny tricks used by funny westerners to pull the hood over African eyes.

It is hard but the AU can come up with its own mechanisms to prosecute Africans for crimes against humanity or war crimes. We do not need barbarians from across the Atlantic pond to do that for us. It is time to seek African solutions to African problems. The barbarians from across the pond can mind their own business and we mind ours.


  1. As promised, this essay supplies the counter-opinion to an earlier essay penned by Madi Jobarteh in which he opposed South Africa’s move to withdraw from the ICC, emphasizing that by “Leaving the ICC, South Africa Dishonours The Martyrs of Apartheid.”
    In this essay, Jehuti Nefekare draws on the history of the court and paints it as a tool of western judicial imperialism. He is of the view that South Africa and Burundi are correct in withdrawing from a court that only seems capable of punishing Africans for the worst crimes of humanity. Please have a lively debate.

  2. Jehuti Nefekare. Thanks for the insight and indeed you have highlighted the double standards quite well which is the reality of global politics ever since. In one of my posts somewhere I noted that Africans got to understand that the history of the world is a history of conquests. I think Karl Marx or someone also said something like that. But for me you did not still give me a convincing reason as to why Africa should pull out of the ICC. In the first place, we cannot really accuse the ICC as a Western design because the content of the Statute is clearly set that no one state could have manipulated it. There is nothing in the provisions that seeks to even slightly give undue advantage or disadvantage to one state.
    Secondly we must never forget that these African countries are sovereign states and therefore they cannot hide behind being bamboozled somehow. We cannot come after so many decades of self rule only to continue to complain about how others treat us when we have the capacity to be a force to be reckoned with in the world, yet we have refused to utilize our strength simply because we have leaders who are only interested in their selfish ends. When in 1963 Nkrumah laid out all the pitfalls in front of us if we fail to unite and all the opportunities if we do, we still have the OAU and now the AU and all these leaders refusing to do what we must do. South African and Burundi cannot tell us that when they ratified the Rome treaty they did not know what are their obligations and what is the purpose of the ICC. They knew yet they signed it and we must not allow them to renege on their responsibilities.
    Thirdly, we must look at the particular interests of Arica first. That is to say that while it is indeed true that war crimes were/are currently being committed by UK, US and Saudi Arabia as well as Russian and Syria and many other nations, we must realize that in most of the cases you mentioned, we see these crimes being committed against other people other than the citizens of these leaders or regimes. But still we need to get the ICC go after Obama and King Salam and now Therese May etc. But in our case we have our leaders and governments committing these crimes against our own people. In Burundi Pierre Ngurunziza is killing hundreds of his people just because he wants to stay in power. And this is the same storyline for all these cases inside Africa. Thus as far as I am concerned while I will condemn the cases Jehuti mentioned, yet I must say that it is good that the ICC is after our devils inside Africa for the interest of Africans. To keep Bashir or Ngurunziza or Zuma serves no value to Africa. To take them out at least saves us from one tyrant.
    Fourthly, we must bear in mind that indeed the West is controlling Africa not thru the ICC. The China and West are able to control Africa primarily because of bad leadership on one hand, and on the other hand through other tools such as World Bank, IMF and other global economic and financial institutions and laws. The ICC is not the best tool of the West since they are not going for leaders conventionally thought to be good or democratic such as John Mahama or Macky Sall or Fonseca in Cape Verde. The ICC is going after the criminals and we must recognize and welcome that. So our disdain against the double standards of the West must not make us blind to the specific details and issues.
    Fifthly, For far too long we have sang the song, African solutions to African problems but this is empty rhetoric that Jehuti and all of us very well know. The AU, as the Assembly of Heads of States is currently constituted cannot offer anything good for Africa. Currently the AU Chair is Idris Deby. Who in his right mind can expect anything progressive and democratic from Idris Deby, a certified armed and dangerous tyrant? So let us be serious as Africans and understand what are the priorities and stand for those.
    Lastly, the ICC, with all its real and perceived faults, and in spite of the crooked global politics, I must say the court is serving Africa more than any Western-backed institution. We know from history until now that the Western governments have always overthrown democratic and patriotic leaders like Nkrumah or Sankara. They have always installed and backed tyrants like Mobutu. The World Bank and IMF always imposes false economic policies that have killed us. They have never supported the industrialization of Africa. Thus the only Western-backed institution that I see really doing good service for Africa is the ICC by identifying and removing tyrants from our midst. At least if we cannot help ourselves, here is one entity trying to help us in that. Think about that…

  3. both sides of this debate are valid…which then belies the veracity of the question itself. perhaps the more appropriate question should be whether pulling out of the icc hurts or helps us – the african masses? on face value, unyoking us from tyrants is always a good thing. whom by is a totally different question. furthermore, should we – the african masses – not be doing the unyoking ourselves, rendering the icc and other international bodies like it redundant? our seeming powerlessness is in itself self fulfilling thereby triggering a vicious power cycle of dependence and intervention with certain key powers in the international system. if truth be told, we are the problem. we seem programmed to give away our power at almost every turn whether 2 our avaricious and tyrannical leaders or to our imagined saviors in the international community.

  4. Kofi Opare Hagan the language may be a bit strong but read and tell me what you think. I remember you jurisdiction argument , ECHR-is-competent-enough argument and in most cases the lack of hard/substantiated/verifiable evidence by the ICC to prosecute hence its seeming biase towards Africans. A question i will be seeking an answer to today in my reading is this: Did ECHR make any attempt to prosecute Blair for war crimes for involvement in the Iraqi invasion?

  5. I have always pondered about the Statutary Limitations Act – either in the UK or Worldwide – and whether it covers criminal acts i.e. genocide, kidnapping and sold into slavery, etc. If not, then ICC could busy itself with all the pending cases involving such atrocities as happened in Belgian Congo, apartheid in SA, mass destruction of African history & culture (a form of ethnic cleansing??), the list is endless. Even the much recent acts by the West are not candidates for the ICC, even after the leaders involved have confessed to making such gross mistakes in undertaking campaigns to oust legitimate governments in Africa – Libya comes to mind.

    • It’s a bit surprising reading your argument. The ICC clearly cannot proceed to prosecute crimes committed after it was established.

    • That is very CONVENIENT for those who set up the ICC … I can imagine clauses being inserted in its Constitution / Set Up mandate if those past atrocities were committed by Africans … such omissions – either planned, omitted, glossed over, etc – makes the arguments of those asking for Africa to exit from ICC, rather strong and favoured

    • That is not true. The fact that the ICC is bared doesn’t bar other courts from proceeding. But anyway that’s how these arguments start… Reasonable and then end up being driven by pure emotions and conspiracies.

    • It is not true that the clause was to prevent prosecutions for others and target Africans. It doesn’t make historical sense to make such assertions. Genocide in Africa by Africans didn’t belong after 90s or there about when the Court was established.

      In any case, the failure of ICC to prosecute doesn’t bar local judicial remedies in these countries.

  6. Kofi Opare Hagan do you see the U.K. or US local judicial institutions prosecuting those who initiated and carried out the atrocities on the so called “war on terror”?

  7. Have you Bernard Seth Tornyenyor sent a case to any of these Courts and have any of these Courts declined jurisdiction? I know for a fact that the UK Courts have successfully adjudicated cases involving soldiers in Iraq for crimes committed during their service there.

  8. Aren’t you shifting the goalpost? Why don’t you answer my question. Do you know anyone sending a case to any of these Courts in relation to IRaq and the Courts declining jurisdiction?

  9. I am not shifting. No life is more worth than the other. I must not know anyone to know how unfair the ICC is. Much as I abhor African leaders for their brutality on their own people, the ICC’s application of justice is SELECTIVE.

  10. Very engaging debate with no faul or personal attack.Rather, purely on issues of argument with concise languages. One would hope fellows could learn from from guys. I was like
    Smilling and nodding as browsing continue…Lol. Kofi Opare Hagan is my man of the space …haha

  11. Bernard Seth Tornyenyor you haven’t shown how they are selective.

    Can you give a specific example so we deal with it? 7

  12. Omar Bashir(Sudanese President) is being hunted by the ICC whilst George Bush Jr. and Tony Blair are being shielded. I remember this former Israeli Foreign Minister and PM Tzipi Livni ….. an arrest warrant was issued by the U.K. government a few years ago on her role in dozens of Palestinian death ? in the Occupied Territories but on an official assignment in the UK, the arrest warrant was withdrawn to allow her enter the UK but those who committed atrocities in the former Yugoslavia (Serbia, Kosovo etc) are still being hunted and hauled to The Hague. The idea that those who commit human rights violations should be punished is laudable and I support it wholeheartedly but to be applied SELECTIVELY defeats the very purpose and foundations of the ICC @ Kofi Opare Hagan

  13. Jehuti Nefekare has contributed brilliantly to clarifying our viewpoint on the so-called International Criminal Court (ICC)! The claim of Madi Jobarte that the ICC is not a Western design is most ridiculously absurd! Let him tell us which non-Europeans decisively participated in conceptualising, with ideas not Eurocentric, the ICC and its statute and modus operandi! It need not take those of us critically schooled in Law and its related disciplines of Global Justice, and therefore so apalled by the gross inadequacies of the Eurocentric perversions of the theory and practice of Law as impacting upon the World, to the point of having to independently research and study by ourselves Critical Jurisprudence in its development in indigenous Afrikan and other Knowledge systems, to show anybody who cares to want to seriously learn the fact that the currently imposed order of so-called International Law is a Western designed instrument for loads of bullshit hypocritical propaganda about Democracy, Human Rights and Development, while using it for terrorising Humanity into submission to the globalising bloody dictatorship of Euro-Amerikkkan Imperialism. Contrived as a Western design out of the globalising processes of the imposition of White Supremacy upon the Black majority of Humanity with the Coloniality of White Power, the ICC has functioned, more so with the usual tokenistic inclusion of its Black-Skin-White-Masked elitist clowning puppets, as a vicious Afriphobic instrument of Global Apartheid Racism for perpetuating obnoxiously insulting travesties of Justice particularly against Afrikan people. Among such abusive atrocities is the currently ongoing French colonially fabricated outrageous case of trumped up charges amounting to a despicable frame-up by Euro-Amerikkkan Imperialism against the Afrikan patriotic leader from Cote d’Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo! Indeed, it is this case which highlights the Big Lie about the soveregnty of European fabricated caricatures of so-called independent nation-states in Afrika today! It proves every word written in the 1965 book “Neocolonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism” by Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah. It is mind-boggling how anybody can deny not just the manipulation but terroristic intimidation of Afrikan governments and heads of state by the oligarchs and agents of Euro-Amerikkkan Imperialism! “We came, we saw, he died” is not only a triumphant murderous outcry of Hillary Clinton at the brutally gruesome torture to death of Muammar Gaddafi, an Afrikan Head of State, by the proxy war quislings of Euro-Amerikkkan Imperialism in Libya; it is also a chilling warning from she-who-may-soon-become-a-mega-hydra-head-of-the-Beast of the “United Snakes of Amerikkka” to all who would dare to want to undo the stranglehold of the Euro-Amerikkkan Coloniality of Power around the necks of their subjugated nation-states; and she has been heard most crystal-clearly by her puppets in Afrika who shit inside their pants any time such Western master-puppeteers of theirs coughs! These are the stark naked geopolitical realities determinging how the institutions and agencies of Euro-Amerikkkan Imperialism like the ICC function in relation to Afrika in the World today. All the beating about the bush of the ICC with arguments about legal technicalities that evade the falsehoods proclaimed rather hypocritically in its statute and related legal fabrications are just meant for hoodwinking the gullible and making their proponents appear clever for nothing! In my candid opinion, Madi Jobarteh is simply expressing the typical eurocentric viewpoint of what some choose to call Afropessimism, which most often leading NGO bureaucratic apparatchiks, whose salaries and other privileges come mostly from their Western Establisment funders, are paid to do; that is, to discourage innovative Afrikan solutions to Afrikan problems and rather advocate opportunities and contrive situations where the predatory interventions of the mercenary White and Black quislings of Euro-Amerikkkan Imperialism in the affairs of Afrika can be prolonged! How can the West planting and taking out its vile packs of tyrannical running dogs in and out of governments, literally playing games of musical chairs to bamboozle the gullible, and arranging those it wants to put on puppet-show trials before its kangaroo ICC travesty of Justice, be taken for progress in Afrika? The wishy-washy viewpoint expressed by Madi Jobarteh is an expression of the phenomenon resulting in the increasing pseudo-radical “NGOisation” of certain forms of Activism among Afrikans that some even try to present as displays of Pan-Afrikanism! While there are some quite naive but well-meaning elements among them, the overwhelming majority of Afrikans working for NGOs in and outside Afrika do not mind functioning as opportunistic mercenary quislings of the security, intelligence and subterfuge agencies of Euro-Amerikkkan Imperialism, so long as they are on their lucrative pay-rolls or get substantial rewards in cash and kind from the ilk of George Soros, Bill and Melinda Gates and even far worse White Supremacy representatives of Global Apartheid Racism. Hence they will always try to find all manner of justifications for continuing Western interventions in Afrika, regardless of the blood-spilling carnage resulting from such genocidal misadventures of Euro-Amerikkkan Imperialism on our continent and elsewhere throughout the World. Law Professor Emeritus Issa Shivji of Tanzania is among those who have written some of the best exposes about the nefarious roles of different sorts of NGOs in and outside Afrika for all who would like to study the matter diligently. One of the things most striking in Madi Jobarteh’s position is his refusal to consider seriously the urgent need for Afrikan progressive forces to abandon topdown Civil Society elitist wheeling and dealing with foreign and domestic agents of Imperialism and rather focus more seriously upon GROUNDUP ORGANISATION in order to build the alternative institutions, agencies and social movements from the grassroots of Afrikan Communities of Resistance at home and aboad for our own independent People’s Self-Empowerment, better glocally coordinated Freedomfighting and total Pan-Afrikan Liberation. It is from such self-determining processes of groundup organizational Self-Empowerment that will arise new institutions like what, in accord with the Scholar-Activist creativity proposals of the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE), more of the frontranking contingents of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) are calling the UBUNTUKGOTLA Peoples’ International Tribunal for Global Justice (UBUNTUKGOTLA-PITGJ). It is such a veritable Peoples’ International Tribunal for Global Justice (PITGJ), so fairly, transparently and inclusively constituted so as to bring together, in the genuine Equity of true Decolonizational Pluriversality, the jurisprudential and all other knowledges of the entire Humanity conducive to authentic Global Justice, that can justifiably be utilised to deal effectively with Afrikan and all other criminals of all sorts of hues and shades, in order to ensure authentic Reparatory Justice for all those deemed to suffer gross violations of their human, peoples’ and Mother Earth rights! Groundwork towards building such a PITGJ is what not only the PARCOE and other contingents of the ISMAR but also their like-minded colleagues of the Peoples’ Reparations International Movement (PRIM) have started practically doing in selected parts of Afrika and the World. That is why the most important point to make about our Afrikan situation in the World today is not simply raising problems to bemoan them and then loudly beg pitifully for predatory aliens and their havoc-wreaking institutions and agents to come and mercifully solve them for us; but the actual point, as has been made again and again and again, IS FOR AFRIKANS TO INDEPENDENTLY ORGANISE IN TRUE PAN-AFRIKAN REVOLUTIONARY PRINCIPLED UNITY AT HOME AND ABROAD IN ORDER TO MAKE TOGETHER GENUINELY RADICAL TRANSFORMATORY CHANGE OURSELVES IN OUR OWN BEST INTERESTS AS OUR OWN SELF-DETERMINING LIBERATORS!


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