Is Africa on trial?

 
Victim of LRA in Uganda (file photo) The Lord's Resistance Army has killed, mutilated and raped thousands in several African countries

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was set up to try those responsible for the most serious crimes in the world - such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

So far, all 24 people facing charges - and the only person convicted - are from Africa, leading to accusations of bias. The African Union has said members countries should stop cooperating with the Court.

Is Africa being unfairly targeted, or is this just where the worst atrocities have been committed since 2002, when the Court came into being?

 

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 34.

    Yes, the trials are heavily weighted against Africa. But, crimes have been committed against Africans overwhelmingly. Those child killers are mostly found in Africa. I wish all dictators and killers of the like Zenawi, Afeworki, Mugabe, etc. see their day in court. Yeah, double standard in the West. But, the problem of Africa rests on its own rulers and hope the ICC continues chasing them.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 33.

    The fact that the ICC does have so many warrants out for current and former African leaders in my mind says that Africa is the principal target as a method of halting crimes against humanity/genocide/war crimes; the fact that we do not punish others is unfair, however, and only reflects the weak role Africa plays in world affairs. Calls for other warrants may not have the political support.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 32.

    How many WWII Nazi's were put on trial and found guilty??? Not just after the war, but as recently as a few months ago.
    I have no idea why the African countries are complaining about. Germany, Israel, Cambodia, Vietnam, UK, Span, Argentinian, Peru, Chile, and a host of other countries have put people on trial and convicted them. Are Africans supposed to be exempt? If so, Why?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 31.

    The ICC is not pointless -- clearly, there is a positive role for an international criminal court to play. It is troubling that the US has not decided to join, however, I believe it is one good election away from gaining the support to do so (if the House switches and Obama remains President). I agree that China's veto remains a sticking point -- but this wasn't the question posed by the writer.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 30.

    After the UN, this has to be the biggest Quango going. They are going to make easy targets to justify their existance. Since WW2 many non African have been charged & convicted of War crimes. German, Japanese & later Serbian. Not about race at all. But shouldn't GWB & TB, etc, have been considered?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 29.

    Firstly, it's not just Africa. Surprised that there was no mention of Sri Lanka in this article.
    Other countries have learned how to play the international game. Even if others were guilty of war crimes, they'd be better at hiding it. Most western governments disservice in more implicit ways, while still failing to even acknowledge the torture that people suffer outside of their own borders.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 28.

    "Churchill suggested using Mustard Gas against the Kurds"

    From what I have just read, it was tear gas for riot control, rather than mustard gas. How many errors can you cram into one posting?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 27.

    "Bomber Harris destroyed Dresden in WW2."

    .. and significantly shortened the war. The Dresden transport hub was critical to the Nazis and was only 60 miles from the Eastern front, where our Russian allies were losing astronomical casualties.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 26.

    The ICC handles only a small number of offenders and also fails to address the root causes of conflicts. It does not offer a lasting solution. In the case of Kenya, there has been attempted ethnic cleansing every election time since 1992. Only an effective truth and reconciliation commission can effectively address the underlying issues and remove the excuses used for fueling conflict.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 25.

    The "Yes" article states: "Had Mr Bales been an African, his commander-in-chief would have been subjected to the ICC's Rome process."

    This completely misunderstands the law of the ICC (or ignores it and trusts that readers are none the wiser). Nothing in the statute makes commanders responsible for random acts of one soldier. It targets systematic/widespread policies aimed at committing crimes.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 24.

    It would perhaps be wise if everyone withdraws. Until the US accepts the ICC it is pointless and it does set a bad example. This would not mean the end of the ICC. The security council can still refer cases out of its jurisdiction. Personally I would like to see no veto in the security council. China seems to be the only permanent member to have acted most wisely in these past few years.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 23.

    Firstly, I agree more or less fully with the "no" article. Every individual on trial before the ICC deserves to be there for the crimes they are accused of. In addition, as another commenter pointed out, the crimes under the jurisdiction of the court usually arise out of wars, often civil, and it is a tragic fact that there have been many such wars in Africa in the recent past (and ongoing).

  • rate this
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    Comment number 22.

    I have always doubted the International Court. In 1930, Churchill suggested using Mustard Gas against the Kurds (50 years later Saddam Hussein did!). Bomber Harris destroyed Dresden in WW2. Both are Crimes against Humanity but would they have been arrested and taken to the Hague if that happened today? I doubt it. The Hague dishes out the Justice of the Victor. But that is no justice at all.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 21.

    The ICC is basically no-colonialism in disguise. The big powers that commit the most crimes are not signatories to the statues of the ICC, so naturally the only victims will be the poorest and less powerful African countries.
    Some argue the most crimes are committed in Africa. Where do the weapons come from? From those who want that crimes should continuously be committed in Africa.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 20.

    #9: I agree Citizen, it's not due to bias that the ICC focuses on Africa, sadly it's because the highest proportion of crimes against humanity occur there. That said, there are a few countries who manage to escape this sort of thing judgement because they are too powerful to challenge otherwise *cough* China *cough* but there's nothing we can do bar declaring war which would just make it worse.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 19.

    I am from Kenya where there are 2 cases pending at the ICC. Most of the evidence was gathered by the government funded Kenya National Human Rights commission. The government had therefore laid the ground work for addressing such crimes but found it difficult to prosecute those holding high office. Some in Kenya feel that the ICC prosecuted too few and left out the most senior offenders.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 18.

    R we really becoming so blind abt what is happening around us? or what's being projected to all of us? R we all willing 2 sell our souls in return of Privileges? Who gave us the right to judge each other based on color (skin, hair) or race or religion? Have we been living & letting other LIVE?? or we have been using every single opportunity to climb a ladder..but what kind of steps is it made of?

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 17.

    Africa is the most powerless continent in the South and the ICC is situated in the powerful North. There are some interesting parallels in the world of justice. The amount of Afro Americans in US jails is totally out of proportion to their part of the population, for example.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 16.

    With all due respect, we need to STOP fooling ourselves and beleive all the stories about HELP FOR AFRICA!! No one is going to Africa to help.. they ALL want - NOT need- something. How can we explain the fact that the RICHEST continent on the planet - by ALL means - is now suffering and cant even feed its own people! GLOBALIZATION..or maybe i ought to say GLOBAL CORRUPTION!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 15.

    Unfortunately, the events that result in ICC cases generally occur during civil wars. Africa has had more than its share. And generally, the individuals brought before the court were on the losing side. Many others who SHOULD be brought before the court are unfortunately still holding the reins of power. And that includes many powerful western leaders! GWB-Iraq, Clinton-Serbia, Reagan-Libya '86.

 

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