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The International Criminal Courts narrow preoccupation with crimes by Africans, as opposed to every other people on the planet, has had a unifying effect on the continent. By consensus agreement, the 53 nations of the African Union agreed to ignore the ICC's directive that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir be arrested by member states. Said the AU's commission chairman: “If you don’t want to take into account our proposals…we are also going to act unilaterally.”
Africa Rejects Criminal Court Order on Sudan, Moves Toward Unity
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“The International Criminal Court indicts Africans because it thinks it can get away with it.”
The heads of state of the African Union (AU) last week denounced the International Criminal Court, agreeing that none of its 53 member-states will honor the court’s demand that nations arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir if he sets foot on their soil. The consensus agreement was reached at the 13th summit meeting of leaders of the African Union, held in Libya under the AU’s current president, Moammar Gadhafi.
Gadhafi also spearheaded an agreement to move closer toward the goal of African continental unity by giving the African Union commission more powers to coordinate continent-wide defense, diplomatic and trade policies.
At least on paper, it was not a good week for European and American imperialism in Africa. Libya’s Gadhafi said: “I am sure the founding fathers of Africa are smiling in their graves today.”
The African Union’s rejection of the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Sudan’s president on charges of crimes against humanity in the Darfur region signals a dramatic break, not only with the court, but with American and European attempts to foment regime change in Africa. Jean Ping, chairman of the AU commission, put it bluntly. Africans, he said, “are showing to the world community that if you don’t want to listen to the continent, if you don’t want to take into account our proposals…we are also going to act unilaterally.”
“Libya’s Gadhafi said: 'I am sure the founding fathers of Africa are smiling in their graves today.'”
In fact, it would be more accurate to say that there is no such thing as a ‘world community’ without the continent of Africa – and there can be no credible legal action taken against Africans without Africa’s consent.
The International Criminal Court has shown itself to be a white man’s tool. In the last seven years, it has restricted its war crimes and crimes against humanity investigations solely to the African continent. Amnesty International claims that Africa’s credibility has been undermined by its refusal to comply with the international court’s order. What racist, Eurocentric nonsense! When 53 nations representing a continent of the world’s people reject the machinations of the court, it is the court that is revealed to be devoid of all credibility. And that goes for Amnesty International, as well.
Human Rights Watch was even more arrogant, accusing Libya of “bullying” the other heads of state at the African Union summit. Human Rights Watch has a twisted idea of who the real bullies are in this world. Global imperialists get a free pass, while insults and indictments are reserved for Africans. Yet these European- and American-based organizations wonder why they’re not welcomed in many countries. As Sudan’s foreign minister declared, correctly: “Most Africans believe [the court] has been set up against Africa and the Third World.”
The International Criminal Court indicts Africans because it thinks it can get away with it, but ignores European and American culpability in atrocities around the globe, including in Africa. The United States refuses even to join the court, and has always ignored international law as a matter of policy. If the U.S. and Europe are allowed to act unilaterally in their perceived interest, then it’s about time the continent of Africa act forcefully and collectively in Africa’s own interests.
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