Cape Town – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who is also the African Union (AU) chair, says Africa must establish its own International Criminal Court (ICC) which would be mandated to prosecute Western leaders who have committed crimes on the continent.
According to the state-owned Chronicle newspaper, Mugabe said it was high time Africa set up a criminal court which would seek justice for "serious" war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the West, particularity during the colonial era.
"They committed crimes, colonial crimes galore – the slaughter of our people and all that imprisonment... I have a case, why was I imprisoned for 11 years? We forgave them, but perhaps we’ve not done ourselves justice... You set up the ICC, we set our ICC to try Europeans, to try Mr [George] Bush and Mr [Tony] Blair," Mugabe was quoted as saying.
Mugabe said the International Criminal Court was a court for Western countries, dispensing Western injustice on Africans.
Mugabe said this while addressing journalists at the Harare international airport where he was seeing off his Malian counterpart Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after his three-day state visit to the southern African country.
Keita concurred, adding it was "up to Africans, not Europeans or Americans to judge their leaders".
Mugabe's remarks came a few days after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir evaded an ICC arrest order by leaving early from an African Union summit that was held in Johannesburg.
At the summit, Mugabe wanted a mass withdrawal of African states from the ICC.
The veteran leader harshly criticised the ICC after Al-Bashir dodged his arrest, saying the international court was not wanted in Africa.
"This is not the headquarters of the ICC, we do not want it in this region at all," Mugabe said.
Mugabe also took a swipe at the "foreign" funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs), whom he said were angling for Al-Bashir’s arrest.