More impunity in Africa than rest of the world – ICC president

2014-09-10 09:11

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There are more International Criminal Court cases against African countries than anywhere else because impunity was more rife on this continent, the court’s president Sang-Hyun Song has said.

Song told journalists during a press conference in Johannesburg yesterday of international justice officials that, contrary to perception, the ICC did not target certain people.

“I believe what is being targeted is not any individual or country on the African continent, but the impunity which is in my view more rampant in this part of the world than elsewhere,” he said.

The delegation is in South Africa for meetings and to “popularise” their work. They have also met with local justices, including Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and Justice Minister Mike Masutha.

The court is struggling to gain credibility among many Africans, who blame them for only going after those in the continent and ignoring atrocities committed by countries, such as the United States, which are not signed up to the ICC.

Some African Union states have also attacked the ICC. Kenya, whose leaders are currently standing trial before the court, had been wanting to reconsider its position with regards to the court.

Last week, the case against Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta was delayed indefinitely because of a lack of evidence.

However, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda yesterday denied that the case had been dropped. She said it was simply a matter of not being in a position to proceed with it on October 7.

“Personally I am disappointed because the case didn’t go the way we wanted it to go. This is my personal disappointment, but I am a prosecutor and I have always said, and I will always maintain, that I go to court based on my evidence. And unfortunately over time we have lost that evidence,” she said.

“This is as a result of the cooperation we were expecting from the government of Kenya that was not forthcoming.”

She said the court had never before experienced the same level of problems with interference in the case and witness intimidation as it had in the case of Kenya.

Kenyan leaders had been lobbying the African Union to call for a moratorium on the prosecution of sitting heads of state.

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