It’s unfair to say ICC only targets African countries – president

2014-09-09 09:08

The perception that the International Criminal Court only targets African countries is inaccurate, the court’s president has said.

“That this particular criticism is not entirely accurate or based on factual situations,” Justice Sang-Hyun Song said yesterday after meeting Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in Joburg.

“Indeed, it is true that the eight country situations that the ICC has been dealing with are all from Africa,” Song said.

Out of these eight cases, five were brought to the ICC prosecutor by the African governments themselves. They came to the ICC following “terrible” domestic armed conflicts and other types of violence, which they did not know how to handle.

“In the additional two situations, the United Nations Security Council decided to refer these two African country situations to the prosecutor of the ICC ... Libya, Sudan,” Song said.

The Kenya investigation was the ICC prosecutor’s own initiative.

On Friday, Agence France-Presse reported that the ICC’s chief prosecutor asked judges to indefinitely postpone the start of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial on crimes against humanity, saying Nairobi was refusing to cooperate.

“The prosecution respectfully submits that the appropriate course of action is to adjourn the case until the government of Kenya executes the [prosecution’s] revised request in full,” Fatou Bensouda said in papers filed before the Hague-based court.

Song said prosecutors could not arbitrarily launch an investigation.

“Once he wants to do this, then he has to submit that request to the pre-trial chamber,” he said.

Prosecutors had to wait for the chamber to give judicial authorisation to proceed with an investigation.

“In the Kenya case, the pre-trial chamber [told] the prosecutor: ‘Okay, you can go ahead and start investigation,’” the ICC president said.

At the time the investigation began, it had the full blessing of the international community and the Kenyan people.

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