By Kebba Secka
Amady Ba, Head of International Cooperation at the office of the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC), and Madam Shamila, Head of Legal Advisory at the same office, have rejected allegations that the ICC targets African Leaders. They cited Article 15 of the Court that Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire and other countries, welcomed them (ICC) in their countries. The officials maintained that the presence of ICC in Africa is necessitated by Africans themselves, considering the gravity of the reported crimes against humanity and the unwillingness of member states (African states) to investigate crimes that they are alleged to have committed.
These and other statements were revealed during the training on Transitional Justice and International Law, organized by ‘TrustAfrica’, in collaboration with the Dutch Embassy in Senegal, for journalists within Anglophone countries. The five day training which ended on 16th November, was meant to equip journalists with the prerequisite knowledge needed to better inform the people about the work of the ICC and reporting on Transitional Justice processes.
Asked why the ICC failed to open investigations on alleged crimes against humanity during the twenty-two autocratic ruled of ex-president Jammeh, the officials said there was not enough substantial evidence to warrant ICC intervention to open preliminary investigations into the alleged crimes committed in the Gambia.
“It is based on preliminary investigations that warrants the ICC to open investigations into alleged crimes against humanity and human rights violations,” said Amady Ba. According to the ICC official, the International Court has legal criteria to follow when the need arises, to institute a case against alleged crimes or open preliminary investigations and these depend on admissibility and complementarity criteria. For complementarity, Ba said if State parties to the Rome Statute are willing to investigate and prosecute alleged human rights violation and crimes against humanity, the ICC is mandated to support such countries to investigate and prosecute perpetrators in the interest of Justice, by providing them judicial reforms etc.
Shamila revealed that the ICC is made of 126 State Parties of which, “ten countries are under preliminary investigation, eleven countries including DRC, Libya, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Burundi, Kenya etc., are under the ICC investigation list, while six countries are under active investigation.” Shamila added that the admissibility of evidence that may warrant the intervention of the ICC, depends on the gravity of the case and this has to do with the quantity, manner or quality of facts, in relation to the crime(s). For the Complementarity rule of the ICC, Shamila said: “ICC is not a magic institution but a composition of our domestic Laws meant to “end impunity.” She went on to explain that some countries are “willing to investigate and prosecute alleged crimes against humanity;” that part from the admissibility and Complementarity rules of the ICC to investigate or prosecute alleged crimes by member states, the ICC can act on the authority of the United Nations’ Security Council, to open preliminary or active investigation on alleged crimes against humanity, “if a resolution is passed by members of the Vito powers at the level of the Security Council.