There are more and more African governments in favour to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) and create an own court, African, which will judge the crimes against humanity from their continent. The last summit of the African Union (AU) passed some days ago a proposal which opens the possibility for all the countries member of the AU to leave the ICC all together. The driver of this initiative is Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, a man who was charged precisely by the ICC, accused of promoting and financing the confrontations –with huge massacres– in the country after the elections of 2007. In 2014, however, the public prosecutor’s office of the ICC withdrew the charges. The legal ground to do so was the lack of evidences. The reality is that politics has prevailed over the law.
The arguments used by the African heads of state that want to exit the ICC make sense: they are fed up, they say, of being almost the sole countries which are prosecuted by the international law about crimes against humanity. They have a point: if the laws of the ICC would be applied in a fair and egalitarian way in all the world, today the main leaders of countries member of the United Nations Security Council should sit in the Hague’s court.
Every day, every new war, every new refugee’s crisis, the international law in defence of the human rights and the international criminal law get more diluted, ending solely in a political use, but barely independent of the main powers. The interests of the states, the ones with power, are immune to the universal laws they promote… for the others. Just one example: the outlaw summary executions became in a generalized practice in USA, Israel, Russia or France. Leaving aside the meaning of outlaw killing, this executions cause civil massacres and, very often, mad mistakes considering as military objectives innocent civilians.
Also, not everybody can be prosecuted by the ICC. China and the USA did not subscribe it. Bilateral help, cooperation agreements, etc., make it mandatory for African countries and the rest of the countries depending on the rich ones. Therefore, countries subdue international law not because of they believe in it but because they need to get other advantages. And we all know what happens when interests are against convictions: just remember how the government of PP [Popular Party, the right-wing party in Spain] cancelled the cases opened in Spain under universal law, for example, when they believed them to be against commercial and political interests.
Obviously, if African countries exit the ICC it won’t be a progress for justice. The only thing which will happen will be that straps, the state criminals of this continent, will be able to continue their job without obstructions, without fearing the law. Without having the uncertainty about what will happen when they are not in charge any more (losing the power could lead to prison, there are many examples). What the African countries willing to exit ICC are aiming to, is to also be protected from their criminal actions. They just ask for equal conditions with the states which do whatever they please outside the international and humanitarian law, every time more jeopardized. An act of distributive justice… of the criminal injustice.