Botswana - Africa attitude to ICC wrong

2011-12-12 21:23

New York - Botswana's President Ian Khama Monday hit out at African leaders who refuse to co-operate with the International Criminal Court saying it put the continent "on the wrong side of history".

Khama, giving a keynote speech to the ICC's annual meeting, particularly hit out at a decision by an African Union summit this year to oppose arrest warrants issued for late Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi and other African leaders.

"This decision is a serious setback in the battle against impunity in Africa and undermines efforts to confront war crimes and crimes against humanity which are committed by some leaders on the continent," Khama said.

"Such a move also places Africa on the wrong side of history. It is a betrayal of the innocent and helpless victims of such crimes."

Africa has more state members of the ICC than any other region - with 33 out of 120 signatories - but the tribunal's work has also proved controversial as all of its official investigations have been in Africa. Many African presidents say the continent is unfairly targeted.

"I specifically note with regret that at a recent summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in June 2011, the African Union formally decided not to co-operate with the ICC over the indictments and arrest warrants against some leaders," said Khama, who has been a strong supporter of the tribunal.

The ICC has also issued a warrant for genocide against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir. Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo is now in custody at the tribunal's headquarters in The Hague.

"We need to have the political will and the moral courage to hold accountable, without fear or favour, anyone in authority - including a sitting head of state - when he or she is suspected of having committed crimes against innocent people," Khama said.

  • Mark - 2011-12-12 21:31

    Well done Mr. President. Courageous and unfortunately unpopular words in much of African leadership. Needed to be said - in spite of Mugabe and his friends in Pretoria being miffed.

  • Nkosinathi - 2011-12-12 22:33

    Tell them Mr. President. Africa is a sea full of dictators who claim to be leaders. From Cape To Cairo there are many many dictators. Just on our door step there is Robert Mugabe, Kabila, Eduardo Dos Santos,, Museveni, Kibaki, Bashir of Sudan

  • Gollum - 2011-12-13 00:13

    Hot enough people like Khama in Africa. Practically all African leaders plenty noise about atrocities that happenned hundreds of years ago while conveniently ignoring ones currently being orchestrated by their buddies.

  • Ntombiziyabusa - 2011-12-13 03:05

    His mother is an English woman who worked for the English army. What else can one expect from a bloody agent. Juju is right. Regime change is needed in that country.

      Norah - 2011-12-13 07:28

      at least he's taking a stand!and that says a lot for him!Botswana happens to be prosperous, peaceful and developing steadily. so please Khama alone! you mind business in your country.

      Vagav - 2011-12-13 08:27

      @Ntombiziyabusa: It's really sad to see your comment, bringing race into the discussion yet again. Shouldn't we be past this at this stage in our country's history? You are no different than the people that perpetuated the Apartheid regime, and comments like yours only bring South Africa closer to a nation consumed by hatred and division... in other words, Apartheid. Ian Khama is a leader for his people, who is not afraid to see past Africa's cruel history and has the courage to stand up and say Africa needs to move forward, to allow all her people to enjoy the freedom that so many fought for during Colonial and Apartheid eras, not only a few strong men who control their countries like a personal bank account. Shame on you!

      Fidel - 2011-12-13 11:55

      @Norah Prosperous for who, have you seen the infrastructure of that country.

      kgalalelo.malesele - 2012-06-27 13:37

      @fidel From a country that had less than 5 km of tarred road and had no city at all in 1963 I think it has done a lot well and it's infrastructure says it all. Remember no infrastructure no matter wat kind that u have seen in that country dates beyond 1963 the oldest infrastructure will by now be 49 yrs old so everything there was build from scratch from 1963 sir

  • Skirmisherp - 2011-12-13 03:25

    That's my president

  • Norah - 2011-12-13 07:45

    Well done Mr. President. Although you may the lone voice, you have the courage to speak out! That said, I do believe the ICC is unfairly targeting African leaders. I know they leave a lot to be desired, but hey, what about the Burmese (Myanmar) military leaders? the ICC could also have issued an arrest warrant for Pinochet - it didn't! Even though the African Union does not have any teeth so to speak, it should be the first port of call on such issues and the ICC must work and consult with the AU. Pipe dream perhaps? but all such dreams begin somewhere. Also don't forget that Africa's brutal colonial history has left many of her peoples and leaders wary and suspicious of the western world's so-called good intentions and their institutions too! The ICC must find a formula for AFrican leaders to take ownership of its decisions, otherwise it is doomed to fail on the continent. But at least SADC is slowly showing its mettle: Zimbabwe and Madagascar, a quantum leap for SADC! One step at a time! But hey, I'm only the Devil's Advocate here!

      Vagav - 2011-12-13 08:36

      @Norah: I like your comments, but I would say "unfairly targeting Africa" is the wrong way to think about it perhaps? Shouldn't we be working for more intervention in Africa? Shouldn't we be wanting better development, better education, better infrastructure? Isn't that the point of removing evil dictators that murder their own people and keep Africa in a perpetual state of war? I would argue that the west benefits more from having dictators running African countries than they would if these countries were true democracies. Why? Because if the country is being controlled by 1 dictator, the resources can be purchased cheap & not at market prices. You don't have to pay living wages for all the people, you just have to pay enough to get the leader his new Mercedes Benz. Look, China sent a shipment of weapons to Zimbabwe in exchange for mining rights. Weapons are cheap for China to manufacture, much cheaper than what they would have paid if there was proper competition for those rights, the benefits of which could have been distributed to the people. Look at Shell in Niger, and many other African countries. The AU hates the ICC because the AU is made up of these dictators who want to keep trading their peoples lives for Johnny Walker and Breitling watches!!! Botswana owns 51% of all the mines there. The foreign companies put up the capital to extract the resources and the people enjoy 51% of the profits, plus they get jobs, plus infrastructure, etc.

  • Muenda - 2011-12-13 08:18

    Botswana is a sick child of Africa

      Fidel - 2011-12-13 12:43

      That country is a security risk to Africa.

  • Fidel - 2011-12-13 12:03

    In the post colonial world there are 2 kinds of non-European leaders: those who are craven puppets and allow the West to manhandle them and their countries, and there are those who oppose the West. Those who rightfully oppose the West are Mugabe, Castro, Chavez. That's why sometimes it is necessary that people like Mugabe, Chavez , Castro and Gaddafi stay on past their presidentila terms, reason being that their successors might just go soft and flip themselves over for the West--relentless criminal gang, always driven along by capitalist greed and avarice. But the mistake they make is not to prepare for a successor who would implement their policies given that the West is always angling for their weak spots in order to flip them over--as you flip over a turtle and watch it flounder. The longer you stay--the better they know you and the more corrupt your cronies and families become. Why are these fools from Botswana keen from allowing their country to stage an Imperial force for the US command AFRICOM. Who do they think these army will be directed at. It's just so fascinatingly pathetic that Africa can have so many governments and leaders who can be so docile before westerners.

      Horst - 2011-12-13 13:41

      Its absolutely stupid to be 'anti-west'. It gets you nowhere, just down the pit. I don't understand, what is the problem of working with the western world?

  • Fidel - 2011-12-13 12:08

    Africans have always been able to distinguish between house servants and field servants and khama belongs to the former.

  • pinehas.m.amadhila - 2011-12-19 09:53

    I am shocked to read a a speech from one of African country Mr President Khama for mentioning that fellow African leaders are less co-operative with the ICC, in The Hague. These president by historically he is not African, his forefathers caused many sufferings in this continent and this Khama wanted my hero Comrade President Robert Mugabe to be allied and compared to dictators. We need leaders with vision and not Western puppets in our continent. Africans! When are we going to open our eyes and say "NO" to Western influences and embark on the staunch stance against neo-colonialism and sort of imperialist tendencies in some of African leaders like Khama. Living toxic materials to be buried in your soil is a holocaust for generation to come.

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