History has it that, the establishment of the ICC spans over more than a century. The road to Rome was along and often-contentious one while the efforts to create a global criminal court can be traced back to the early 19th century. The story began in earnest in 1872 with Gustar Moynier one of the founders of the international committee of the Red-Cross who proposed a permanent court in response to the crimes of the Franco-Prussian war.
Only then will be innocents of distant wars and conflicts know that they too may sleep under the cover of justice, that they too have rights and that those who violate those rights will be punished. ” On 12th May 2016, President Museveni was at it again; he lashed out at the international criminal court for their discriminative tendencies. Referring to them as a “bunch of useless people” for their selective prosecution of world leaders. I pondered on what exactly holds the credibility of this great institution in balance?
The first warrant for arrest for Omar Hassan Ahmed al Bashir was issued on 4th March 2009, the second on July 2010; the suspect is still at large. In prosecutor Vs. Omar Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir, the Sudanese President is suspected of ten counts on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility under article 23(3)(a) of the Rome statute as an indirect co perpetrator. Five counts of crimes against humanity murder article 7(1), extermination article 7(1)(b), two counts of war and three counts of genocide by killing allegedly committed in Darfur, Sudan. Several requests have been put to different countries that he’s been hosted, including South Africa, Uganda, Malawi, DRC and Chad, to no avail. On 26th and 27th February 2014, Congo hosted Bashir, and on 7th and 8th August 2011, Bashir was in Chad.
Despite the fact that court issued requests to these countries to cooperate and arrest Bashir, none of them has complied to the court’s request yet they are all signatory to the Rome Statute, except Sudan. So who believes in this court at all, is it the West, Arabs, Africans, Asian or Eastern worlds? So many questions keep lingering in my head, why isn’t ICC investigating the people behind the killings that happened in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria? Who should be prosecuted for these murders just to help the people in these countries get justice?
Can one conclude that the approach ICC took is killing the vision of the court? I would concur with Human Rights Watch’s presentation that the personal, temporal and territorial jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) enables it to be engaged in a number of country situations simultaneously. To date, the prosecutor of the ICC has opened investigations in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Darfur region of Sudan. In light of the court's jurisdiction, it is essential to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, objectivity and transparency in the selection of situations and cases by the prosecutor.
Such transparency enhances the ICC's credibility and maximizes its role in the fight against impunity. Utilizing objective criteria to assess whether certain cases merit investigation or prosecution is important to ensure that prosecutions before ICC do not appear selective. Relying on an objective threshold in assessing criminality avoids the danger of making comparisons between groups or individual perpetrators, and provides a clear rationale for the decision about whether to prosecute a specific case. In particular, once a determination is made that an individual accused meets the objective threshold for prosecution, then in principle a case should be brought forward even if the scale of the underlying crimes is not of the same magnitude as those of other defendants before the ICC.
But I have to get to the roots of this matter, Is it about prosecutor Bensouda, her administration, some resource envelope or it’s just that some leaders may indeed be “bigger” than the others, when it comes to crimes against Humanity? The discussion continues until we all get it right to have this court serve its purpose, and I guess those with skeletons in their closet better be prepared to face the International Criminal Court.
PROJECT ASSOCIATE CITIZEN’S ELECTION OBSERVERS NETWORK UGANDA.