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Africa and the ICC: A new Era is Possible


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Presentation to Ministers of Justice of African States parties to the ICC, Dakar Senegal.

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Africa and the ICC: A new Era is Possible

  1. 1. Africa & The International Criminal Court A new Era is Possible By Desire Assogbavi July 2017 Disclaimer: views are Personal
  2. 2. In this presentation…
  3. 3. ICC & Africa Relation Misunderstanding? Instrumentalisation? Strategic Mistake? Lack of Communication? Bad Faith…?
  4. 4. It was our Court … ❖The Role of African countries in the setting up of the ICC ❖African People need the ICC the most ❖The 1st Strategic Plan of the newly created AU under President Alpha Oumar Konare suggested an universal ratification of the ICC treaty ❖A Cooperation Agreement bet. AU & ICC was drafted ❖Africa still the geographical region the most represented in the ASP ❖Today 34 African countries are member of the ICC while only 30 joined the African Court of HR 20 years after ACHPR was established ❖Malabo protocol: only one ratification (Guinee) after 2 years.
  5. 5. But then… What has Happened ? ➢ Misunderstanding, Bad Faith or Instrumentalisation of the ICC? --- Uganda? ➢ Strategic mistake? --- Sudan? --- the power of the UNSC? ➢ Real intention of Justice… or justice the other? --- CAR + Cote d’Ivoire ? ➢ But we thought we, (Heads of State) should be treated differently… Anyway they will not get any witness …Kenya? Or ➢ Justice and accountability only for the looser?... Cote d’Ivoire?
  6. 6. The Grievance of the African Union on the ICC ➢ 8 out of 9 countries of ICC operations in Africa ➢ Similar crimes committed elsewhere… No ICC actions: “selective justice” ! ➢ UNSC ignored AU called to suspend cases against Presidents Bashir and Kenyatta while it was easy for American to protect their troop against the ICC… ➢ But… Has the AU gone too far by calling for a collective withdrawal without ensuring an alternative? ➢ In fact: Is Africa really against the ICC? Which Africa? The Africa of people or just a couple of noisy leaders?
  7. 7. Cont… ➢ The unprecedented record of 16 countries reservations to the “collective withdrawal plan” + Recent development in South Africa ➢ People's consultation in Zambia showed massive support to the ICC ➢ In Brazzaville a big audience supported the ICC on the 4th July public debate… when they understood better the complementarity principle…
  8. 8. It is all about the victims ➢ There are hundreds of thousands victims in Africa ➢ They were killed by Africans ➢ They have no other means to claim justice and accountability ➢ Malabo Protocol giving criminal jurisdiction to the ACHPR: An opportunity or a curse? ➢ We should not forget the deterrent effect of the ICC. ICC does not cause conflicts, it rather makes potential criminal think twice before acting… e.g. Blaise Compaore was afraid of the ICC and gave up power instead of shooting the crowd… ➢ I see hope ….
  9. 9. Some Ideas ➢ Restoring trust: Beside technical interactions bet. ICC and the AU --- What about a high level dialogues to be catalyzed by progressive heads of states + African eminent personalities ? ➢ The “withdrawal strategy” must be transformed to a reform strategy driven by African Champions within the ASP ➢ The prosecutor must communicate more on what is happening on situations out of Africa --- Any blockade or obstructions by whoever must be denounced publicly ? ➢ We need to see more regular consultation/meeting between ICC and the African Union.
  10. 10. Ideas cont. ➢ Recent Brazzaville public debate: Complementarity + issue of independence of the court not well understood. The Court is independent from the Office of the Prosecutor ➢ Using the “Silencing the Gun by 2020” roadmap & and the Agenda 2063 prerequisites. Gun cant be silenced if there is no justice. If there is no justice people only trust the guns !!! ➢ The role of the UNSC to be back in the debate – Why not the UNGA be in charge? UNSC does not represent everybody but the UNGA does…
  11. 11. Thank You ! My contacts Email: Twitter: @assodesire