The International Criminal Court is a perfect example of how a necessary and well intentioned institution can become corrupt, farcical and useless when controlled by unipolar forces.
I am not here to claim that each of the nine cases involved innocent men. To put it mildly, none of the accused were angels. But since 1998, the world has seen an explosion of war crimes, almost all of which have flaunted the will of the United Nations and spat upon both the letter and spirit of the UN Charter.
One can look to the NATO led illegal war on Yugoslavia, the bombing of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan by western forces, George Bush and Tony Blair’s disaster in Iraq, Hillary Clinton’s pet project in Libya, the fascist war against civilians in Donbass and the American, Turkish, British, French and Belgian invasion and bombings of Syria, all of which run contrary to international law.
No one at the ICC has seriously looked into any of these war crimes, although they were vastly more devastating than anything which has recently occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.
What’s more is that the United States refuses to participate in the ICC and if a superpower isn’t part of the ICC, it’s a bit like trying to sell tickets to an official Rolling Stones concert without the presence of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger.
There’s frankly more than a hint of racism to the ICC. It seems that the only non-black people to be tried in an international tribunal in recent memory have been Serbian men, who have their own separate court set up in The Hague, one which has ignored most crimes committed by Croatian, Bosnian and Albanian war criminals.
So if you are a black African or a Serb, then do not commit war crimes. But if you are anything else, the ICC and sister tribunals have more or less given you a get out of genocide free card. This has not gone unnoticed in Africa. Burundi and South Africa have withdrawn their support of the ICC and most recently, The Gambia has done so as well.
Sheriff Bojang, the Gambian information minister singled out Tony Blair’s war crime in Iraq being totally ignored by the ICC as reason enough for the poor African state to leave the ICC. Britain after all, is a full participant in the ICC, but Tony Blair continues to enjoy his freedom and to paraphrase the premise of George Galloway’s film on Blair, the former Prime Minister has made a ‘killing’ in the aftermath of his killings in Iraq and elsewhere.
The ICC’s uneven allocation of justice raises many questions. Whilst a war crime anywhere ought to be treated with utter seriousness, I cannot blame African countries for increasingly seeing the ICC as an organisation whose reach doesn’t go beyond Africa. Unipolarity in the world cannot coexist with international justice. The sooner people realise this, the better.