By Paa Kwesi Arko Cee; Accra, Ghana | email@example.com
I never liked the International Criminal Court as intensely as at this moment as it today acquitted former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, an African leader, after almost a decade in detention and trial at the headquarters of the court in The Netherlands, Europe at which it is my happiness.
It is a fortunate, most fortunate occurrence! It is fortunate for not the ex-convict but for the name of the ICC. It is fortunate for the cause of the Rome Statute and of the prosecutors and elite judges of the ICC.
But it is also unfortunate for a large circle of critics and opponents whose criticisms and allegations the court has today strongly laid waste by breaking the rod of opponents’ blame. This ruling has been given in answer to some of the many criticisms which from time to time have been raised that the court targets African leaders.
In late 2011, Ivory Coast, a non-party State of the ICC, referred the crimes committed in the country between December 2010 and April 2011to the ICC in late 2011. It may, perhaps, be fairly questioned by any thinking person, whether if the ICC is a neocolonial tool in the hands of European powers to bring rising African leaders down; Mr. Laurent Gbagbo would have been set free today. The ruling of the ICC is not a peculiar one. At least President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and his vice have had their charges dropped and Jean- Pierre Bemba was duly acquitted after the court found him not guilty.
Certainly the position of the ICC with respect to Africa leaders is at this time rendered far more clearly than ever. African cases have long been in at the ICC because Africa is still entangled in the net of impunity and requires a foreign arbiter like the ICC to set matters right. Looking at conflicts in Sudan, DR. Congo, Uganda and Somalia in the face of domestic and regional courts the view that the Court is targeting Africa is ill-founded. And the ICC has prolonged and may prolong its operations in Africa because of weak, incompetent and corrupt justice system which cannot put high profile citizens on trial.
Nothing has been left undone to cripple the accusations, debase the allegations and obliterate all traces of selective justice. In fact if any country or any individual want to henceforth lay a finger of criticism against this noble and just court of last resort, it would no more concern the so called ‘Selective Justice,’
Despite the ICC prosecutors’ disappointment in the ruling in favor of Mr. Laurent Gbagbo by the judges, the verdict is a strong statement by the ICC that the court has no incentive for going after African leaders and only does so when there is reasonable and sufficient evidence that the individual is responsible fr shocking crimes.
The ICC never made a speech more eloquent of itself in clearing its self than the one we have just listened to from the lips of court today with a judicial energy so startling, that the accusers and doubters might almost have heard the mighty burst of feeling and recognized it as the pledge of an invincible determination endeavored to instill hope and courage into minds of every race that justice would be administered as and when it should be without prejudice.
May the Court’s strength continue to be equal to the serious crimes in our day and continue to grow serviceable in the cause of bleeding humanity and let the calumniators of the ICC find a different charge and henceforth cease to talk of the biasness against Africa by the world court. And certainly this ruling has been given in answer to some of the many criticisms which from time to time have been raised that the court targets African leaders.