Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

The ICC: a tool for western imperialism in Africa?

The International Criminal Court (CPI) was established in 2002 after the treaty of Rome. Its head quarter is in Hague (Holland). It has jurisdiction to try crimes of the most heinous nature like war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. It is important to point out that the ICC’s jurisdiction kicks in only when national judiciaries are either unwilling or insufficient to prosecute cases or when the security council of United Nations refers cases to it. The current prosecutor of this court is Mrs.

Fatou Bensouda who came in office after the 1st and controversial prosecutor Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo. Though Africa occupies a unique space in the ICC system, with 34 African states that have ratified the treaty, over the years the continent as a whole has shown a decrease in support for the ICC. In fact three key African states have recently announced their withdrawal from the court. One of these countries is Kenya, whose parliament has called for the withdrawal from the treaty of Rome.



              The ICC has turned out to be more of a weakling in the eyes of many Africans. It’s therefore unfair because all its current cases involve Africa. In fact since its inception, virtually all cases are African cases. This has made great leaders ROBERT MUGABE to perceive the ICC as a tool of western imperialism. Most African presidents going out of office are tried by the ICC, one will cite for better precision Mr. Laurent Gbago former president of Ivory Coast. Also, the ICC is perceived as a tool for imperialism in Africa because, though the western powers have been engaged in a lot of war crimes, they always claim jurisdiction over their nationals to try them at home. Again, there is a great controversy in the rules for the institution of proceedings in the ICC because the security council of the UN is to refer the cases. This is controversial because the permanent members of the Security Council that have a veto vote (china, Russia and USA) have not ratified the treaty.

Certainly, Africa and the ICC are partners of necessity because of the numerous atrocities that have over the years been committed on civilians in Africa. In the democratic republic of Congo, the international rescue committee estimates that about 5.4 million people lost their lives in wars. During the genocide in Burundi (in 1993) and Rwanda (1994), over a million people were killed. While in Nigeria, the Biafra war lost an estimated three million lives.

However, with the coming of the ICC, there is increasingly evidence of deterrence of potential perpetrators of political instability. Thus, a question arises as whether the ICC is actually a tool for western imperialism in Africa or is it just serving as an excuse for Africa dictators to withdraw from the treaty in order to perpetrate more inhuman acts and atrocities?


Author: NSUF


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