Once again, I stand very proud of His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, Babili Mansa for his courage and fearlessness to tell the world that his government is immediately and finally withdrawing its membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Individual nations, especially those in Africa, could be excused for joining the organization when in the beginning most governments saw it as an effective vehicle that will help promote the intent at which it was established; but after experiencing its bias activities for 15 years, African heads of state can no longer be vindicated for failing to grasp that the ICC is being consistently manipulated in favor of western countries in their international agenda to only punish “inferior” nations and their leaders proving to be menaces to their authority and dominance in the world. Hence, all African nations quitting now is well overdue.
Kudos to Babili Mansa! Take it from me as one of your staunchest loyalist, Your Excellency, you have the support of many countries at the United Nations in New York City for leading the charge again for Africa and the whole world.
Ironically, most of the few who called me registering their disagreement with the decision of the Gambia government’s withdrawal from the ICC don’t appear to know or care much about the fact that the three most powerful-permanent members of the UN Security Council, the Unites States of America, The Russian Federation and China are not parties to the 124 member states that signed and ratified the Rome Statute, adopted on July 17, 1998 and enforced on July 1, 2002. They also seem to care less about the 69 other UN member-states, including African nations such as Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Eritrea, Guinea Bissau, Morocco, Mozambique, Sudan and Zimbabwe who still either refused to sign or ratify the accord.
When you ask them to give you one good reason why the three most powerful countries mentioned above, holding permanent membership to the UN Security Council and mandated with the highest executive powers to refer investigations to the court, are unwilling to sign or ratify the multilateral treaty, they come up with no answers at all.
There is no doubt that the tenet on which the tribunal was conceived with the prerogative to prosecute suspects Committing Crimes of Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes was praise worthy compelling the Islamic Republic of the Gambia to be among the first to sign and endorse the agreement on June 28, 2002.
However, with Burundi, South Africa and the Islamic Republic of The Gambia announcing their withdrawal, it is obvious that the number of member states will now shrink to 121 while many more countries will sooner or later quit for some of the key reasons discussed below.
I will however want to first argue the potential reasons for the abstinence of China that never signed or ratified the treaty and the Russian Federation that has no respect for it either. Both nations since their emergence and recognition as formidable superpowers that built their sovereignty against every imaginable opposition from the hegemonic-western nations, have also over the years built resistance to be seduced into endorsing, accepting or willing to give credence to ideas, organizations, institutions or policies initiated to the advantage of the west that frequently translates to their disadvantage. In this case, as well, the ICC to them is not an exception for being an international organization that China and the Russian Federation view as antagonistic and unfavorable to their political and military interests.
Nonetheless, except where they have to stand up against western nations seeking to extend their sphere of international power and domination by using force that threatens the sovereignty of other nations, you hardly or never see these two superpowers demand or impose regime change on weaker countries or on governments they disagree with; neither do we see or hear them insist that weaker countries submit to their “values” and “principles of governance” which more often than not simply trigger and exacerbate an aura of chaos and conflicts among populations that otherwise would have lived perfectly normal with their ways of life.
In fact, if the Russian Federation never existed in the world as a balancing force to reckon with, most observers believe after destroying Iraq and Libya, the west would have assembled more combat forces under the leadership of America to obliterate Syria and later try to conquer Iran. Meanwhile the ICC would have been discreetly cajoled to scrutinize, with pointers, as to how Vladimir Putin could be investigated or indicted for war crimes for trying to stop them. In my view, therefore, that explains why China and the Russian Federation flatly rejected the legitimacy of the ICC, albeit they hold permanent seats at the UN Security Council.
Africans should not forget that when the west was in full support of Apartheid in South Africa and Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, or when they were brutally suppressing independence-seeking nations like Guinea Bissau, Angola and Mozambique in the 60s and 70s, it was the Russians with the Cubans who stood by the continent until liberation day. I don’t even think the slave trade would have been allowed by the Russians if they had had the same power and influence in those days.
However, in the case of the United States as permanent member of the UN Security Council, critics attribute its abstention from the ICC to their international strategy of always seeking immunity for its officials and soldiers to be investigated or prosecuted for war crimes and the like.
It’s not a secret that former US president Bill Clinton in 2000 signed the Rome Statute but never submitted it to the US Senate for ratification. Then in 2002, the year Gambia signed and ratified the agreement, President George Bush unsigned the bill while working on a fake excuse to invade Iraq in 2003. Although President Barack Obama is said to be insupport of the ICC, indicators suggest that the US will never become a member state to it.
Now, how legitimate could the ICC be in the eyes of any fair-minded person if the USA, the most vocal advocate for the respect of human rights and the prevention of international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes is so unwilling to be judged by the same standards it so loves to impose on the rest of the world? If at the international criminal court in Nuremberg, German military officers were executed for following orders, why can’t there be an international tribunal that can prosecute US soldiers or officials violating the same Geneva Convention? After all, it looks like America’s doctrine of “the end justifying the means” gives them the license to violate any international law in pursuit of their national and international interest while other nations remain punishable for pursuing the same kind of interests.
Anyway, the Islamic Republic of the Gambia out of genuine frustration with the double standards had to refer to the ICC as the International Caucasian Court; but to exempt the Russians for being Caucasians in contempt of the tribunal, I think a more fitting translation of the acronym should be the Inferior Creatures Court for its obsession with targeting mainly African suspects because of their “inferiority” by race and nationality.
It cannot be mere coincidence that since it started operational, 39 of the individuals indicted by ICC are Africans; western nations hate Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, the ICC indicts him for war crimes; western nations dislike Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, the ICC indicts him for crimes of genocide; western countries before finally destroying Libya and killing Momar Gadhafi hated him and his way of governance, the ICC indicted him with similar charges; and last but not the least, former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo before France helped remove him from power never got along with the west, the ICC indicts him. Thus, in my view, the consistent vulnerability of Africa and Africans in the chambers of this so-call world tribunal must not at all be attributed to our stupidity, barbarism or inferior faculties as most westerners always want us to believe about ourselves, but more so of a spooky conspiracy against Africa and its leaders. Indeed, there is no case of a suspect for investigation by the ICC who is not a black African or not considered by the west as undesirable.
Look at the case of former Liberian president and rebel leader, Charles Taylor for a moment. In 1989, backed by foreign mercenaries Taylor invaded Liberia and waged a bloody war to change the regime of Samuel Doe that instead resulted in a protracted conflict that before ending took the lives of over 160,000 people with uncountable number of Liberians wounded or permanently forced into exile. In the end for his part in committing war crimes during the civil war, Mr. Taylor was deservedly prosecuted and sentenced to 50 years in prison by an international court created in Sierra Leone. He now serves his time in a United Kingdom prison, Tony Blair’s country whose crimes against humanity equally deserve investigation and possible prosecution. Will come back to Blair later.
At some point, however, American President George Bush and the US congress played important role in ensuring that Charles Taylor was arrested and prosecuted, although the negotiation brokered by African nations and the US for him to leave Liberia was consummated on a covenant to grant him safe passage, political asylum and a full protection in Nigeria with immunity from prosecution for his past war crimes.
The same President George W. Bush the architect of the Iraq war who in 2003 mobilized an international military coalition to invade Iraq on the false pretext that Saddam Hussain had huge stockpile of weapons of mass destruction and must be disarmed for the security of the world.
I understand attempts were made to broker a similar deceptive quid-pro-quo deal like that of Charles Taylor’s with Laurent Gbagbo at the height of the Ivory Coast civil war in 2002, but Mr. Gbagbo flatly refused because of the treachery in that agreement.
For those who are therefore suggesting that the Islamic Republic of the Gambia engage the ICC on a dialog to improve its operational qualities instead of withdrawing from it, I have news for them. Recent reports circulating around show that an independent tribunal found George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales and the Lawyers in the Justice Department guilty of war crimes and should be prosecuted at the ICC. Such investigation will also reveal that Tony Blair and most of his aides involved in that war have cases to answer to. There is no better issue to start a dialog on remedying the shortcomings of the ICC than being fully committed in the investigation and possible prosecution of Bush and Blair together with their accomplices. But as westerners and “Toubabs” and not being black or coming from Africa, the ICC, whether we engage them or not in any dialog, will still be highly unlikely to go after these big shots.
Charles Taylor will die in a UK jail while Tony Blair lives happily and freely in the same land for the same or worse offence committed by the Liberian. That’s the bottom line, period.
And without dealing with these western leaders first, or tackling the crimes behind the massive but preventable deaths of African migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea on their way to Europe as articulated in Honorable Sheriff Bojang’s press release announcing Gambia’s withdrawal from the ICC, I doubt as to whether Babili Mansa will be wasting any more time considering rejoining again.
People have mischaracterized His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, Babili Mansa as being anti-western, anti-British or anti-American; but the reality is that he is fervently Pro-Africa and Pro-Gambia with a commitment to restore the battered dignity and credibility of Africans who for centuries have been indoctrinated into thinking less of themselves and more of their adversaries.
He will not condone the idea that when it comes to westerners or Americans no courts are higher than the British House of Lords or the U.S. Supreme Court while their “constitutions” state that treaties signed by their heads of state such as the Geneva Convention and the Convention against Torture are the laws of their land. From Abu Ghraib prisons in Iraq to Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba we saw the West commit astonishing rendition, torture, detention without charge or counsel for years, suspension of habeas corpus all justified as protecting their national security; although when other countries do the same they cry foul and demand with success their investigation and prosecution by the ICC.
President Jammeh and the Gambian people can no longer withstand the hypocrisy; so, well done Your Excellency! We continue to pray that you live very long and keep fighting for Africa and Africans!
Long live the Islamic Republic of The Gambia!
Long live the Gambian people!
Long live His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, Babili Mansa, president and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed and Security Forces.
New York City