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Africa,warlords and the ICC - what a cocktail!

10 April 2012, 08:28

Among some of the critic labelled against the International Criminal Court is how Africa seems to feature heavily on its agenda, and that for obvious reasons. Currently the ICC has fifteen cases under investigation. All 15 involve African countries. How sad that is,but a very real fact.

Well respected military historian John Keegan once wrote:"Since August 9,1945, nuclear bombs have killed no one". The more than 50 000,000 killed in war across the world have been butchered for most part by cheap, mass produced weapons and small calibre ammunition which takes little more than a transistor radio and dry-cell batteries to cause mayhem.

Africa takes the cake in all this as a around 500 million military-style firearms circulates the entire continent. On top of that millions of civilian-type rifles and pistols are own by middle-class and what not citizens as well.Tens of millions are produced and gets fed into the system each year.

The Rome Treaty which was signed in 1998, brought 122 countries together in a landmark moment for international justice. It was setup so as to make despots and war criminals unsafe anywhere in the world. Has it had an effect on Africa though?

The useless ICC in the Hague claims that the arresting and prosecuting of those responsible for crimes against humanity acts as a deterrent. Deterrent-who needs deterrents,we need this BS to end -full stop.

At present these are some of those that are on trial since their arrest five years ago and with no outcome or decision on them just yet by the ICC:

1. Germain Katanga(DRC)

This commander of the Patriotic Resistance Force (FRPI), is accused of leading the Bogoro massacre, killing at least 200 and sexually enslaving women and girls, and an attack in 2002 on a hospital in which 1 200 civilians died.

2.Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui(DRC)

This "poor farmer's son" became an army corporal but afterwards joined a rebel group in 1998 when civil war broke out in his region. He is accused of ordering his forces to "wipe out" Bogoro. His crimes includes murder, sexual slavery, rape, using child soldiers and pillaging.

Then there is Joseph Kony,a brutal Ugandan warlord,like the ones named above are just one in a long line of despotic warlords that have terrorized the African continent. Before him of cause was Idi Amin, Charles Taylor and Muammar Qadhafi who through their ruthless killings, have committed the most horrific atrocities against Africans ever.

Charles Taylor once bellowed: "Even Jesus Christ was accused of being a murderer in his time". Unless you've been living under a rock for past how many years,there is no easy way to see beyond this man's prescriptive arrogance.

Invisible Children produced a short film called Kony 2012,which was aimed at drawing attention to the violence of warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army and America's military support for the government of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, a regime implicated in human rights violations which included the use of child soldiers and electoral fraud.

Arrest warrants went out for Kony in 2005 by the ICC in the Hague,and yet he remains at large in Uganda albeit with fewer than 100 supporters. US president, Barack Obama, has since sent in US special forces to Uganda to try and hunt down Kony,now that oil reserves had been discovered in Uganda.

The ICC and the West' gross simplicity,tends to foster warlord type behaviour sadly, regardless of how benevolent their rhetoric seems to look like on paper. For example Joseph Kony also goes by the name Matiullah Khan. You might wonder what is the significance of that? You see recently Matiullah Khan accounts shows him receiving  $50 million from Australia, the USA and other NATO countries for his so-called construction projects in Uganda and for its security. Such close ties has this "Khan" got with Australia that some of his men were sent to Australia over the years to get their military training there.

Should this surprise anyone? You see Australian troops in Afghanistan has a partner in the Oruzgan area that help train Afghan soldiers and providing security in that province and its six districts. However, Matiullah Khan with his bloody record runs a booming business in Oruzgan as part of what the US Congress calls a ''vast protection racket''.

This African warlord has his own army in this area,hundreds of police believe it or not,and his men wear Australian flags as insignias on their shoulder badges. This helps NATO boost their control of one tribe over another policy in places like Afghanistan.

Australian analyst,Raspal Khosa,wrote:"This dilemma for Australian troops is that they have no option but to deal with ''malign actors'' like Matiullah who are part of a complex human terrain foreign forces have to navigate". The Sunday Age wrote:"Australian Defence Force says troops engage with a range of local leaders in an inclusive and impartial way".

African warlords feeds of $16billion(US) military contracts each and every year. Warlords like Matiullah Khan police main traffic routes during insurgence,costing NATO nations $4million a year for private security of their supply convoys. Matiullah Khan was at time paid $3000(US) per truck with over a hundred trucks passing through the areas that he controlled in a single month.

Wikileaks tells of how influential Matiullah Khan really is. Last November, a fuel convoy heading to Tarin Kowt,the capital of Oruzgan, was held up by insurgents and then US troops were sent in to deal with it. It turned out that the insurgents were troops commanded by no other than Matiullah Khan, wanting their late payments of $3000 a truck. They were shouting "he needs the money to run his operation''. Only after six hours of negotiation did they let the fuel tanker pass through.

Another wikileak report in December tells of how two men got arrested by Dutch troops while carrying rifles and detonating cords in the Gizab district. US special forces intervened again as one of the two men arrested were Matiullah Khan's brother. Both men were subsequently release "with all their goods" still intact.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard came out saying:" Australia's long-standing commitment to a shared strategy is aimed to build Afghanistan's capacity to undertake its own security and stability". Yeah right.

Australia's reliance on warlords like Matiullah is fudged at best and left unstated in official Australian statements. Candour and openness is not Australia's best call now is it. The Lowy Institute's Interpreter wrote:"Politicians and the ADF needs to change their narrative on Australia's Afghanistan operations''.

Currently 24 people face charges at the ICC in the Hague and the AU says its member states should stop cooperating with it. The ICC is very selective in its administering of justice. In 1930,Winston Churchill suggested using Mustard Gas against the Kurds in Mesopotamia. More than 50 years later,Saddam Hussein did exactly that. Yet Saddam Hussein goes before a kangaroo court & show trail and got hanged and yet Winston Churchill doesn't. True there was no ICC in Winston Churchill's day but still why shouldn't he be tried as well for suggesting such activity even if he's no longer around?

Bomber and butcher Sir Arthur Harris destroyed 15 square miles of Dresden in WW2,yet instead of a ICC trail he got knighted by the Queen and gets a RAF Statue in his honour. Protesters in England shouted at his unveiling:"Harris was a war criminal..." all to the surprise of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

Most of the world's crimes happens in Africa some will argue,but who supplies these weapons for those crimes? According to a writer at the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway:"That since 1995 the United States of America alone has given away more than 300,000 rifles, pistols, machine guns, and grenade launchers".

These are the big powers that are not signatories to the statues of the ICC that sell the weapons and yet its the poorest and less powerful Africans that remains the victims thereof. The ICC only prosecute cases it knows it can win and not lose.

With African perpetrators being far less sophisticated in hiding and manipulating evidence,it makes our continent easy targets for prosecution by the ICC and gives them credibility.

The New York Times also commented: "Where governments are corrupt, rebels are pitiless and borders are porous . . . The glittering stones,like diamonds, have become agents of slave labour, murder, dismemberment, mass homelessness and wholesale economic collapse."

Is Africa the only place being scrutinized by the world or the ICC?

1. › World.

4.Are African warlords easy targets for the Hague?

5.BBC News Chanel

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