Isdore Guvamombe

AFRICAN countries have started deserting the International Criminal Court after the realisation that the court had, by and large, been abused by powerful European nations to punish Africa.

The Hague-based court, claims it investigates and prosecutes cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity but has not tired anyone from Europe despite mass killings there.

Latest events- the pulling out of Burundi, South Africa, Gambia- might make the powers behind ICC rethink and shape up. In fact, it is the great intransigence, the bullying of African leaders and the successful launching of the African Union Court of Justice that will open an avalanche of withdrawals from of African countries from ICC.

And now the world justice delivery matrix has changed with Africa having the capacity to try its leaders for errant behaviour, thanks to President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, for, the court was established during his tenure as AU chair.

Since its formation, the ICC has opened inquiries into 10 countries for possible trial, nine of which are in Africa: two cases in Central African Republic (CAR), Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, Kenya, Darfur (Sudan), Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

All suspects convicted for crimes against humanity and/or war crimes are African. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, an al-Qaeda jihadi, was the first to be found guilty for the war crime of attacking religious and historical buildings in the Malian city of Timbuktu last month.

All three of the court’s ongoing trials involve Africans. These include the cases of former President of Côte d’Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo and his ally Charles Blé Goudé, the case of former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba tried for alleged crimes committed in neighbouring CAR, and that of Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda.

South Africa claims the intergovernmental organisation’s view on conflict resolution is “incompatible” with its own. Burundi and Gambia believe the same. Zimbabwe and many other African countries are not signatories.

Uganda has described ICC as useless an Malawi says it is watching the events with interest.

More could come.