The International Criminal Court (ICC) has a bias towards indicting and putting on trial African leaders, while the Europeans and Americans, some who have committed heinous war crimes, are left untouched. This has led to massive calls for African countries to pull out of the ICC.
There are critics who believe that Africa is a haven for leaders who have a knack in impunity. In Africa, there is blatant and utter disregard of the rule of law, which then leads to former presidents and their cronies walk scot-free in the face of the injustice they would have committed. In this regard, the ICC has been widely perceived as a method of checks and balances for a continent where impunity flourishes. Warlords, former military generals and former presidents often meet their fate at the ICC and because of this, the ICC has been viewed as a good mechanism to bring justice to Africa.
The above mentioned fact is however a simplistic approach to the whole issue of the ICC. It has top be noted that the ICC only tries Africans and those from other third-world countries, and one is left to wonder about what happens to those American, British military generals and former leaders who have orchestrated crimes of a huge magnitude but are left to their whims, and are not brought before the so-called international court. It is this bias which breeds contempt for the ICC from an African perspective.
While it is not bad for African leaders to be hauled before the international court, the bias exhibited in granting impunity to the developed nations leaves a lot to be desired. There are however African countries who want to pull out of the ICC so that they are not held accountable for the wrongs they did. If Africans can give respect to the rule of law, and if they learn to be impartial in the administration of justice among themselves, they can successfully pull out of the ICC.
A case to not is that of Chad's former president Hissene Habre. An appeals court in Senegal upheld the life sentence of Hissene Habre, on war crimes charges. The trial against Habre began in July 2015, though victims and survivors had been pursuing the case against their former leader for 16 years. Here, justice was administered to an African by Africans.
The Extraordinary African Chambers was created by the African Union and Senegal to try Habre for crimes committed during his presidency from 1982 to 1990. If this platform is fully and effectively utilized, where Africans are tried by Africans impartially, then Africans have every right to pull out of the ICC.
Habre's case is a good precedent for other African countries to follow, and leave the bias shown by the ICC that irks many an African. To date, the ICC has opened investigations into ten situations in: (1) the Democratic Republic of the Congo; (2) Uganda; (3) the Central African Republic I; (4) Darfur, Sudan; (5) the Kenya; (6) Libya; the (7) Côte d'Ivoire; the (8) Mali; (9) the Central African Republic II; and (10) Georgia.The ICC has publicly indicted 41 people, the majority being Africans.
If Africans can give respect to the rule of law among themselves as seen in the Habre case, they can leave the ICC, and they will have a justifiable cause for doing so.