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The African Union vs The International Criminal Court (ICC)

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The African Union vs The International Criminal Court (ICC)

Post by Mazy on Wed Jul 03 2013, 08:15

THE AFRICAN UNION VS. THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT, WHERE SHOULD AFRICAN VICTIMS SEEK JUSTICE?
Posted: 06/25/2013 6:11 pm

At the end of May, the African Union celebrated its 50th anniversary. At the end of the Union's three-day summit held in Ethiopia, members accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) of being racist and going after African leaders in 99% of the cases it is investigating.

Africa is suffering immensely from ongoing conflicts throughout the continent. Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya, Burundi, Nigeria, and others all have long-simmering conflicts. Millions of victims are suffering from atrocities that are caused or exacerbated by these conflicts: AIDS, child recruitment, rape of women and girls, killings, torture, disappearance, looting, maiming, etc.

The African Union (AU) is an important political body in Africa, playing a crucial role in peace building and security, largely by mediating conflicts. This task has not been easy, and but there have been successes including in Burundi and Comoros.
But the AU has failed on other fronts including fighting poverty, establishing democracy, ensuring security, and ending conflict in countries such as Somalia and Sudan.

The AU, like many of us, wishes to have a peaceful Africa where there is rule of law, democratic values are respected, civilians are protected and participate in decision-making in their countries, where security is guaranteed, and justice accessible and effective. There's no way the AU can expect to achieve this without other forces to complement their work.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) was created to end impunity for perpetrators of war crimes and to ensure justice is served for victims. At the moment most of the suspects at the court are from Africa. What African victims wouldn't be happy to see perpetrators brought to justice? Does it matter where perpetrators are taken into custody and tried if justice is served for victims?

I believe the recent hostility shown by the AU towards the ICC is unfair. The Rome Statute clearly states that the ICC is an independent, fair and effective jurisdiction. I offer an example from my home country of the Democratic Republic of Congo to illustrate.

When I look at the conflict in eastern DRC, victims and citizens lack faith in the Congolese justice system because it is weak and doesn't have a structure to deal with international crimes.
The video below features the plight of child soldiers in eastern DRC. Without the ICC's recent trial of and guilty verdict declared against Thomas Lubanga, none of these children and their families would have seen justice served.


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Another example is the violence that occurred after the Kenyan presidential election in 2008. Kenya was unable or unwilling to effectively prosecute the crimes committed during the post-election violence. Uganda, after decades of conflict, has been unable to deal with the Lord's Resistance Army, despite heinous crimes committed by them. In Darfur, thousands of people were killed by the Bashar regime and Darfuri victims didn't see any prospects for justice whatsoever.

The African Union, if it is really concerned about justice in Africa and wants lasting peace on the continent, would do better to collaborate and support the ICC in its mandate. However, the ICC itself cannot completely end impunity for perpetrators of crimes in Africa. The future of fighting impunity lies in the hands of domestic jurisdictions, and the ICC can help by exercising its principle of complementarity. This gives domestic jurisdictions -- or national courts -- the duty and primary obligation to investigate, prosecute and prevent international crimes. Only if states cannot fulfill their duties, should cases be referred to the ICC since it's a court of last resort.

The collaboration between the African states (domestic jurisdictions) and the ICC would effectively protect victims and justice served, and future crimes prevented because of the deterrent effect, ensuring the primacy of national jurisdiction, and domestic prosecutions strengthened.

The AU's hostility toward the ICC stands to benefit perpetrators of crimes; the losers will be the millions of victims in Africa.

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Last edited by theminis on Wed Jul 17 2013, 02:21; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fixed title)

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Re: The African Union vs The International Criminal Court (ICC)

Post by Mazy on Wed Jul 03 2013, 08:22

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VIDEO FOR ABOVE ARTICLE

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Re: The African Union vs The International Criminal Court (ICC)

Post by Mazy on Wed Jul 03 2013, 08:39

This is when they accused them.
AFRICAN UNION ACCUSES INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT OF RACIAL BIAS
AU makes claim as ICC tries to put Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta on trial
Wed, May 29, 2013, 01:00

International Criminal Court has been accused by the African Union of conducting a race-based hunt against Africans at the close of the organisation’s three-day summit in Ethiopia.

The accusation was made on Monday evening as the AU agreed to oppose the ICC’s efforts to put Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his deputy, William Ruto, on trial later this year at The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity.
The ICC charges allege that Mr Kenyatta, elected as president in March, and Mr Ruto helped to fuel the violence that followed the east African country’s elections in 2007 that left more than 1,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

However, rather than see both men, who were on opposing sides in 2007, tried at the ICC headquarters in Europe, the AU endorsed a Kenyan proposal that their charges be handled by the court system in their home country.

At the end of the summit, AU chairman Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s prime minister, charged that 99 per cent of those indicted by the ICC are from Africa, which left the body in no doubt the international court’s prosecutors were intentionally targeting Africans.

“The African leaders have to come to a consensus that the process the ICC is conducting in Africa has a flaw,” he said.
“The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity, but now the process has degenerated into some kind of race hunting. We object to that.”

The ICC, established in 2002 to try some of the worst crimes, many of which are committed in countries with underdeveloped legal systems, has insisted it acts impartially in all its cases.
However, the organisation, ratified by 121 countries, has increasingly been accused of being biased against African nations because of the high numbers of Africans it is pursuing.
The ICC has only ever issued arrest warrants for Africans. It currently has investigations under way in eight countries: Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic, Sudan, Kenya, Libya, Cote d’Ivoire and Mali.

Despite the AU decision on Monday, the ICC yesterday confirmed it intended to press ahead with the case against Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto.

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Re: The African Union vs The International Criminal Court (ICC)

Post by Mazy on Wed Jul 03 2013, 19:03

SUDAN PROTESTERS, OPPOSITION CALL FOR BASHIR OUSTING
By Khalid Abdelaziz
KHARTOUM | Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:24pm EDT

(Reuters) - Thousands of Sudanese called for the overthrow of veteran President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Saturday, spurred on by an opposition trying to stoke an Arab Spring style uprising.

The opposition, capitalizing on anger over soaring food prices and corruption, has threatened to stage mass protests to topple Bashir within 100 days.

The uprisings that shook the Arab world have passed Sudan by as the security forces usually break up the frequent small street protests by students before they have a chance to spread.

But on Saturday, several thousand people - possibly as many as 10,000, according to witnesses - rallied in a square in Khartoum's twin city Omdurman, the biggest rally in years.

Echoing the language heard across Tunisia, Egypt and Libya during mass demonstrations that overthrew leaders there, protesters held up signs saying: "The people demand the fall of the regime" and "Go Bashir".

"We tell this regime - you have to go," Sadiq al-Mahdi, head of the opposition Umma Party, told the crowd, shouting back "Go, go" as he was speaking.

"This regime has failed on all levels during a quarter of a century in power," he said. Sudan's last democratically elected prime minister was toppled by Bashir in a coup in 1989.

A Reuters reporter saw hundreds of police officers at the scene but they did not stop the rally.

Bashir still enjoys the support of the army and influential Islamist groups. He dismisses the opposition parties as insignificant.
Critics of the opposition say its leadership fails to pose a challenge because it is more absorbed by its own rivalries than organizing sufficiently to form a potent challenge to the elite.

Several leaders such as Mahdi have past government ties, sapping the opposition's credibility among young people.
Sudan's economy has been in turmoil since the former civil war foe South Sudan seceded in 2011, taking away most oil production, which used to be the main source for the budget and dollars needed to fund food imports.
(Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Alison Williams)

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Re: The African Union vs The International Criminal Court (ICC)

Post by party animal - not! on Wed Jul 03 2013, 19:29

Very interesting, Mazy. Thanks for that. Last a democracy in 1989? Well, it's a wonderful idea, but I envision a bloodbath............

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Re: The African Union vs The International Criminal Court (ICC)

Post by mosaic on Wed Jul 03 2013, 22:24

Rape as a weapon has been an under-reported war phenomenon. However, this is the first I have heard of directly recruiting women for the armed forces for the specific purpose of servicing the men. Good God.

I think the statistics for women raped in countries at war should be reported right along with the deaths and injuries of those in battle.

But no, they are not seen as "real" casualties. No parades for them.

(I'd give you another + for these posts, Mazy...but alas....)

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Re: The African Union vs The International Criminal Court (ICC)

Post by Mazy on Wed Jul 03 2013, 22:50

You are right Mosaic about rape not being reported. But that also is a world wide problem, one in every three women will get raped or molested in their lifetime. However they know that is probably a low figure because a lot of that kind of crime goes unreported more often than not. In one of the article that I posted in the last couple of days this young girl was raped in Darfur and her family would not even allow her to sit at the table and eat with them. The victim is always treated like it was their shame, so she is a victim again.

Even in our culture the rape victim is made to feel ashamed for the fact that she has been brutalize by someone. That is what "Half the Sky," charity is about, the suffrage of women and children. There is some information on here about it.

With the way that Congress is going they are trying to take more rights away from women, we'll be going back to the 19th century.

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Re: The African Union vs The International Criminal Court (ICC)

Post by it's me on Wed Jul 03 2013, 23:06

How horrible
It makes me so angry listen to that!!!!!!!!!!!

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Re: The African Union vs The International Criminal Court (ICC)

Post by Mazy on Thu Jul 04 2013, 08:28

it's me wrote:How horrible
It makes me so angry listen to that!!!!!!!!!!!

I know how you feel It'sMe it hits me in the pit of my stomach.

Zen Zen 

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Re: The African Union vs The International Criminal Court (ICC)

Post by Mazy on Fri Jul 05 2013, 16:03

ANALYSIS, SUDAN'S BASHIR PLAYS TO HARDLINERS TO STEM SUCCESSION DEBATE
July 03, 2013|Ulf Laessing | Reuters

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - When Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir returned a few weeks ago from a summit in Ethiopia with his South Sudanese counterpart and former civil war foe, many people here expected him to talk of peace.

Instead, the 69-year-old ruler donned his officer's uniform, waved his trademark walking stick and - once again - threatened to cut off South Sudanese oil exports through Sudan, something the northern country's battered economy can ill afford.

The International Criminal Court-indicted leader faces a succession debate at home and his rhetoric was aimed less at the South, an uneasy neighbor since it split from the north in 2011, and more at hard-line Islamists and army officers in his own circles, analysts say.

This weekend, thousands of Sudanese demanded that Bashir step down in the biggest opposition rally for years. But the biggest threat to his rule might come from dissent within the army and Islamists, the backbone of his power since he seized control in a 1989 coup.

Nobody in the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has declared himself a contender, but speculation over who could run the vast African country after Bashir has increased since he indicated he might quit before 2015 elections.

Diplomats say Bashir's family has been asking him to make good on that suggestion following his throat surgery last year. Officials insist he is completely fit but he has cut down on speeches and public events.

Any handover would be complicated by Bashir's indictment at the ICC for war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region, where the government and the Janjaweed militia have been battling rebel groups from the minority non-Arab population since 2003. Analysts say he would be anxious to ensure a successor would not turn him over to The Hague to improve relations with the West.
"He would want a hardliner as successor to make sure there won't be any concession with the ICC," said Magdi El Gizouli, a political analyst and author of the "Still Sudan" blog.

Bashir is no stranger to challenges. In his 24 years in power, he has weathered protests, multiple armed revolts, U.S. trade sanctions, the loss of vital oil to South Sudan and, more recently, a coup attempt by disgruntled officers and Islamists.

While Western powers shun contact with Bashir due to the ICC Darfur charges, they worry his exit might lead to instability in one of Africa's biggest countries at a time when Islamist militants are fighting French troops in Mali and roam across sub-Saharan borders.

With its porous borders to Chad, Egypt, the Central African Republic and Libya, awash with arms from the 2001 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, an unstable Sudan could be a major security headache.
Alarm bells rang when unconfirmed reports emerged that some Mali fighters fleeing French troops had arrived in lawless Darfur in February, despite Sudan's denial.

Some officers were enraged by a rebel attack on central Sudan in April, and dismayed by the army's struggle to seize back territory.

Bashir has since changed the army leadership under the banner of regular retirement, which offered him the chance to promote ambitious young officers and make a new start fighting rebels.

COUP RISK
Aly Verjee, senior researcher at the Rift Valley Institute, said Bashir had still the support of many in the army and NCP but the risk was that disgruntled officers might team up with Islamists who feel he has given up the religious values of his 1989 coup.

That risk was exposed when authorities unveiled in November a coup plot involving a former spy chief and 12 officers. One of them was a senior Islamist army officer, who is revered as a hero fighting southern "infidels" during the long civil war.

"The question is not whether anti-Bashir sentiment exists, but how deep it runs, how permanent it is, and how many of the leadership are sympathetic to such views," said Verjee.

The government has been at pains not to give any clues who might succeed Bashir one day.

When Japan held an African summit in June it left Sudan to choose its representative as Tokyo could not host Bashir due to the ICC charges. First Vice President Ali Osman Taha would have been the top-ranking alternative, but Khartoum only sent a state finance minister.

"It looked odd to have a junior minister sitting next to several African leaders, but I think they didn't want to send Taha since he's seen as a succession candidate," said a diplomat.

Taha would be the preferred candidate of many Western diplomats who hope his more moderate views might open a new page in relations. But as a former judge and lawyer it remains to be seen whether he would have the backing of the army.

"Bashir might think Taha is too soft and could make concessions with the ICC," said El Gizouli.

Another possible contender is presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie, a hardliner with security ties. He has been visiting European countries such as Norway, Sweden or Russia in recent months, which some see as a hint of higher ambitions.
(Editing by Will Waterman)

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Re: The African Union vs The International Criminal Court (ICC)

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