The President of Rwanda Paul Kagame reiterated harsh critique towards the International Criminal Court at the end of April. He argued that the court held bias towards Africa and failed to create justice in other parts of the world.
The ICC was permanently established under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court treaty in 1998. It entered into force in 2012 where the court intended to try individuals for acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
According to Kagame, “From the time of its inception, I said there was a fraud basis on which it was set up and how it was going to be used. I told people that this would be a court to try Africans, not people from across the world.” Recently, a number of African countries announced a withdraw from the court for such targeting.
Only 10 cases have been tried by the ICC since its establishment. All but one of the cases tried in the court have been centered around crimes on the continent, with five of their suspects being from the Congo and Central African Republic Areas.
“There are many people across the world who should be tried by the court,” remarked the President, “some leaders from African countries who are being tried by the ICC, whatever they are being tried for, [their crimes] have been committed in partnership with other countries, which the ICC don’t try.”
Kagame’s stance was interpreted by the public as a tool to protect the military commanders allegedly working with rebel groups present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The DRC created great conflict with various countries around the world, making headlines describing starving children and captured foreigners.
A political analyst present in Rwanda argues against this idea by suggesting that the ICC has a politicized agenda and aims to use its power to control Africa. Lonzen Rugira argues that, “just because the ICC has a few black judges doesn’t mean they’re not susceptible to manipulation, rather their ‘blackness’ is a tool used to circumvent any criticism against the ICC, and that’s what Kagame is getting at.”
In a web forum on the ICC, experts suggest that newly established institutions are subjected to the ideologies of the first acting leaders and staff. Due to the lack of institutional controls and cultures, the ICC has been critiqued by analysts around the world for their intense investigation of African crimes.
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