NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 7 – The setting up of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was a “reckoning” for those who had long disregarded the lives and dignity of their people, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide said, while warning that withdrawing from the tribunal could have grave implications for victims seeking redress for serious human rights violations.
“The establishment of the Court signified a global commitment to protect victims, when national judicial mechanisms lacked the capacity, willingness or jurisdiction to prosecute those responsible for the most serious crimes,” wrote Special Adviser Adama Dieng in an opinion piece published in The East African.
“I am extremely worried by the outpouring of hostility, xenophobia and intolerance that we are witnessing all over the world”, Dieng said last December. Since the adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998, more than half of the world’s States have joined the Court, 34 among them are African nations – the biggest regional block to date . In July this year, the Court’s founding Statue will mark the 15th anniversary of its entry into force.
Highlighting the significance of the Court, Mr. Dieng said that the fact that most of the cases in the continent were submitted by African States themselves, reaffirming their belief that it would strengthen the rule of law and respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the African people.
However, he added that despite the ICC’s achievements, it is increasingly coming under threat, with recent announcements by Burundi, South Africa and the Gambia to withdraw from the Rome Statute.
“Other States have threatened to do so, if certain conditions are not met,” he wrote, noting that key among the concerns raised by these countries included the “lack of fairness in the prosecution decisions of the Court, perceived by some to disproportionately target African leaders.” (@OnuItalia)