Africa 'must change perception of ICC'

2011-11-10 07:54

The Hague - Burkina Faso's president Blaise Compaore said on Wednesday that Africa's perception of the International Criminal Court as a tool of Western imperialism needed to change.

"Many African countries believe that the ICC was a tool from the Western world against African countries," Compaore said during a conference at the world war crimes court in The Hague.

"There's a perception to be changed," said Compaore, arguing that awareness of the court's usefulness should be raised in Africa.

The ICC was created through the adoption of its founding statute at a Rome conference in July 1998, which Burkina Faso ratified in 2004.

The ICC is the world's only independent, permanent tribunal with the jurisdiction to try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

All cases opened by the court so far relate to crimes committed in Africa and the United States is not one of the court's 119 state parties.

"We all know the majority of crises take place in Africa," said Compaore, adding: "When there are thousands of victims, it is impossible to handle for our national jurisdictions."

Several African heads of state and even the head of the African Union's executive body Jean Ping have criticised the ICC as an institution applying double standards.

The ICC has issued arrest warrants against two sitting heads of state since it became operational in 2002, Sudan's Omar al-Bashir and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, who was slain last month.

Compaore came to power in the impoverished west African nation in a 1987 coup that killed his long-time comrade-in-arms and then president Thomas Sankara.

  • Mthuthuzeli - 2011-11-10 08:08

    Until it issues warrants of arrests fro Bush and Blair, the warmongering b@stards who destroyed a country because of their lust for oil, the perceptions remain. The Nazis were hanged for similar crimes of aggression and these institutions were established to stop warmongering.

  • Chris - 2011-11-10 08:09

    As long as it keeps on persecuting (not prosecuting) African leaders while ignoring the rest we will, rightfully so, regard it as a tool of Western imperialism. Get that over your head Mr President.

  • Napolita - 2011-11-10 09:04

    Dear Mr/Dr/Sir/.. Compaore - Are you ignorant of the crimes committed by leaders and military personnel of the USA and UK? If you are not ignorant, then do you know of any person from either Britain or UK who has EVER been charged/tried before ICC? The FACT is none has been charged by ICC. Could you please use your "reasoning" to explain why there has been no charges pressed on such people? Explain why, not just Africans but Serbs as well, have been so far the ones to face the ICC? You speak of "Africa's perception" I say it's YOURS and YOURS alone. You say "When there are thousands of victims, it is impossible to handle for our national jurisdictions.", well good for ya Sir. Ever heard of Palestinians? Good, there are thousands of them (Palestinians) that are victims. So when is the ICC moving into Tel Aviv, Sir? Of course, they will have to ultimately charge USA as Israel gets the arms from the USA! Don't you think so Sir?

      vincent.kabanda1 - 2011-11-10 16:12

      Thank you tell them

  • Mthuthuzeli - 2011-11-10 10:47

    The Millennium Challenge Corporation’s $481 million, five-year compact program makes the USG (US Government) the largest bilateral donor in Burkina Faso.

  • Salvador - 2011-11-11 13:38

    I am not aware of any forum where these African heads of state spoke on our (or my) behalf. Those who thinks the ICC is againts Africa are the dictators, tyrants and kleptocrat leaders. The only perception here is argument or excuses to elude justice for our mischievous acts. The West defends its people whilst Africa slaughters its people. If African governments do listen to their people instead of manslaughtering them we will not hear or see ICC but Human Rights Watch (HRW) vociferating as it is now doing without frontier. Please let's stop pointing others for our wrongs.

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