Desmond Davies, GNA London Bureau Chief
The Hague, Sept. 17,
GNA – Although users of the African Union consist of the greatest bloc of
international locations that are signatories to the Rome Statue of the International Criminal
Courtroom, the pan-African overall body is becoming involved about the politicisation of the
war crimes courtroom, the Lawful Counsel of the AU, Dr Namira Negm, has warned.
She stated that the 33
African international locations that had signed the Rome Statute were being from impunity, just
as the ICC, but requested why the AU now “has main problems with the ICC”.
“We can just
simplify our remedy and say politicisation,” Dr Negm told a symposium on
“Lessons from the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé & ICC Review”, at the Dutch International
Ministry in The Hague.
Organised by Africa
Lawful Assist (AFLA), the programme brought jointly lawful professionals, academics and
human legal rights activities to glimpse at the circumstance brought towards the former
President of Cote d’Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, and his then Minister for Sporting activities
and Youth, Charles Blé Goudé, by the ICC in 2011.
The two had been charged
with committing crimes versus humanity through post-election violence in Cote
d’Ivoire amongst 2010 and 2011 but were being freed in January this calendar year.
Dr Negm reported: “…we
are witnessing a deeper feeling of divergence in between the AU and the Court docket.
“Legal and political discrepancies are increasing and we think that this can
only be mended if the Court docket will revisit some of its authorized arguments that
disregard other branches of global legislation.”
She included: “Coming
to this specific circumstance of the trial of Gbagbo and Blé Goudé, as a great deal as the AU
strongly believes that perpetrators should really be held accountable for their
crimes, it also firmly thinks that owing method of the regulation and the suitable of
the accused must be respected and guarded.”
Dr Negm admitted
that Mr Gbagbo experienced preferred to stay in electric power immediately after he shed the presidential
election to Mr Alassane Ouattara, but the AU “assisted in observing Gbagbo out of
She claimed Cote
d’Ivoire, a condition social gathering to the Rome Statue, did not item to making an attempt Mr Gbagbo
in The Hague.
“That shows the will
of the African States to get the job done with global justice.
“Yet, the consequence of
the situation demonstrates that there is a challenge in the Court,” Dr Negm explained.
“Why would the Court docket
continue in a situation without having potent evidence?
“Cases in advance of the
Court docket are mostly politically delicate, for the reason that they include the trials of
existing leaders, prior leaders.”
“Shouldn’t the Courtroom
be far more prudent in indicting political leaders without strong proof?
“Why did the Court docket
glimpse into the political implications in continuing with the circumstance of Afghanistan
and not to conditions in Africa?”
The ICC reported in
April this yr that it dropped investigations into alleged US war crimes
dedicated in Afghanistan mainly because of problems in obtaining proof and
Dr Negm stated situations
like that of Gbagbo, “with his acquittal for absence of proof do tarnish the
trustworthiness of the Court”.
She additional: “Once
there is not a strong circumstance in advance of the Court, it ought to be dismissed…otherwise
it falls into the very first trap of politicisation.
“[The] ICC’s ruling
that Laurent Gbagbo had no scenario to answer and that there is inadequate
evidence to convict him of crimes towards humanity underpins a deeply rooted
dilemma [with] the Courtroom and prosecution with regards to Africans.”
She claimed that just one
purpose why cases in opposition to significant profile leaders were being difficult to set up was
for the reason that “they really do not dedicate the crimes by themselves”.
“This signifies that
prosecutors frequently have to rely on circumstantial evidence and the doctrine of
command obligation that calls for information on the aspect of the leaders that
they realized or should really have recognised the crimes would be fully commited and failed to have
taken techniques to stop them from staying perpetrated or punish the perpetrators
right after the celebration,” Dr Negm reported.
“Moreover, in this kind of situations,
the prosecutor need to also take into account the often involvement of politics
and political manoeuvring that will accompany them.
“As a make a difference of
basic principle in intercontinental legal law, wherever guilt is primarily based on circumstantial
proof, such proof will have to exclude any acceptable conclusion other than the
guilt of the defendant.
“In the Gbagbo scenario,
this conclusion is specifically embarrassing for the prosecution as the
presenter of the circumstance,” she claimed.
“Therefore, it is an
important lesson that just before issuing arrest warrants from leaders that may possibly
result in their incarceration for lots of several years, lengthy trials, enormous charges and
superior expectations on the element of victims, prosecutors have to be glad that
their circumstances in opposition to the defendants, in the absence of rebutting proof,
build guilt over and above a affordable doubt,” Dr Negm added.
The tone of the
symposium experienced been established by the Govt Director of ALFA, Evelyn A. Ankumah,
when she touched on the thorny problem of politicisation of the ICC in her
opening deal with.
Ms Ankumah claimed that
“in principle” the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé case was “just any other criminal
“Yet, clearly, ICC
circumstances, and this one in unique, are no everyday cases.
“The force, the
political tension on the Prosecutor to initiate a scenario is higher than in
standard felony instances.”
She mentioned that additional
stress could be introduced to bear on the ICC due to the heinous nature and
scale of atrocities and the amount of victims.
however, may perhaps also be triggered by far more subjective factors, like countries,
governments, or organisations that desire to see a offered human being prosecuted by the
“We all know that
these kinds of influencing occurs, and this is problematic.
“The hazard of
politicising the function of the Prosecutor exists, particularly in which it worries
politically critical or influential people,” Ms Ankumah additional.
“In ICC cases, not
only the Prosecutor, but also the judges have to run in a setting of added
“Because of the
seriousness of the crimes, and the superior quantity of victims, the public, and
indeed the victims, frequently count on and demand a conviction.
“There is a risk
that the achievement of the ICC may possibly be identified by the range of convictions.
“Acquittals are all much too frequently found as a weak spot of the Court docket, a sign of it not
performing adequately,” she said.
“Yet, when judges
conclude that there is not adequate evidence, the person concerned is not guilty.
“Justice is performed.
“One could pretty nicely
appear at the acquittal as a victory for international justice,” Ms Ankumah