Officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have formally appealed for countries, particularly Africans to hold the brakes as more nations quit.
President of the ICC’s Assembly of State Parties meeting in The Hague, Sidiki Kaba has sent a passionate “Don’t Go” plea to countries backing out of the court.
According to Senegalese politician, Kaba, the court is ready to defend the justice of all.
“In a world criss-crossed by violent extremism. It is urgent and necessary to defend the ideal of justice for all.”
The tribunal opened in 2002 in The Hague as a court of last resort to try the world’s worst crimes.
Kaba admitted the body was going through a difficult moment. He acknowledged some had seen injustice in the investigations brought before the court so far. However, he offered reassurances, saying: “You have been heard.”
He added that the court had to redouble its efforts to convince countries to return. This is to ensure that there was truly universal justice for all.
Gambia on Monday formally notified the United Nations that it was withdrawing from the court. Also, South Africa, Kenya, and Burundi have both notified the United Nations of their intention to withdraw from the court.
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree declaring that his country will not become a member of ICC. Russia joined the league of African countries that have snubbed the court.
No Substitute For ICC
Meanwhile, UN human rights commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has lend his voice to the appeal.
“Though, the powerful may seek to leave the court, the victims everywhere plead for its involvement. There is no substitute for the ICC. These states will boomerang back as the court is accepted by more and more states.”
“By withdrawing from the Rome Statute, leaders may shield themselves. But, it would be at the cost of depriving their people of a unique form of protection.”
He also warned that a new trend of isolationism sweeping the world would trigger more attacks on the court.
“Now is not the time to abandon the post, now is the time of resolve and strength. Do not betray the victims, nor your own people… stand by the court… it is the best that we have.”
Currently nine out of the 10 ICC investigations are in African countries. The other is in Georgia.