The Government Spokesman, Ajibu Tejan Jalloh has in an exclusive interview with Unique News assured that the country will not quit the International Criminal Court (ICC) because government has respect for international treaties.
“We will not leave the ICC because we are committed to peace and justice in our country,” he assured, adding “we are respectful to international treaties and the ICC is good to stay on.”
Mr Jalloh believes that all states must work hand in glove to fight impunity for the most heinous crimes committed around the world, including war crimes like genocide.
Gambia is the latest country to announce its withdrawal from the ICC, accusing the Hague-based tribunal of prosecution and humiliation of people of colour, especially Africans.
“The court has been used for the prosecution of Africans and especially their leaders, while ignoring crimes committed by the West,” Gambia’s Information Minister told BBC yesterday.
It should be recalled that South Africa has disclosed a plan to withdraw from the court, the main opposition in South Africa last week condemned the government’s decision to quit the ICC which has more than 130 members’ states, according to media reports.
South Africa’s decision followed a dispute last year when it refused to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is accused of genocides and war crimes, when he visited the country. Bashir denied the accusations.
Voice of Africa (VOA) had reported that the President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza recently signed a legislation to withdraw from the ICC although the United Nation has not been formerly notified.
Human Rights groups have described the decision of both countries to withdraw from the court as an enormous blow to its commitment to justice for atrocities and called on ICC member states to reaffirm their support.
The chief of the International Criminal Court’s oversight board, Sidiki Kaba has also called on South Africa and Burundi to abandon their decision to withdraw from the court, stating that such will prompt a mass exodus of other Africa countries.
He urged both countries to engage in dialogue. According to Kaba, member states will be meeting from November 16 to 24th 2016 where negotiations can be discussed and a dynamic consensus can be found.
“The Assembly of States Parties is the established framework to listen to what change can be made,” he told VOA last week.
Dozens of African countries have criticised the court arguing that the court, sitting in The Hague, Netherlands, mostly prosecutes African leaders, and that it has unfairly targeted the African continent.
Some suggested the strengthening of their own institutions to deal with threats to human rights violations. People have made reference to the Extraordinary African Chambers, set up by Senegal and the African Union to try Chad’s former dictator Hissene Habre for abuses committed during his 1982 to 1990 rule. He was found guilty in May on several charges bordering on heinous war crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The ICC was set up in 2002 and it is often accused of bias against Africa and has suffered lack of cooperation from countries like the United States of America which signed the court’s treaty but never ratified it.