News / Africa

Botswana Supports International Criminal Court

Botswana's President Seretse Khama Ian Khama (file photo).
Botswana's President Seretse Khama Ian Khama (file photo).
Peter Clottey
Botswana’s information minister says Gaborone will continue to provide resolute support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in spite of strong opposition from some African countries.

Jeff Ramsay dismissed concerns that a diplomatic clash could be looming between Botswana and other countries like Kenya and Uganda which question continued African support for the ICC.

They and other critics say the court only targets Africans, including Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“We are in dialogue with both countries about all sorts of issues including multilateral issues. So, I don’t think one issue about the ICC could cause a rift. We have very good relations with both Uganda and Kenya and we cooperate in many areas,” said Ramsay. “After all, the United States is not a member of the ICC, and yet we have good relations with the US as well.”

Kenya’s parliament recently voted to pull out of the ICC.  It has charged Kenyan deputy President William Ruto with laying a key role in the country’s 2007-2008 post-election violence. The conflict left about 1300 people dead and tens of thousands displaced from their homes. Kenya President Uhuru Kenya faces similar charges.  Mr. Ruto’s trial began in late September, while the president’s trial is scheduled for November.

African heads of state and government plan to meet in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa on October 13 to decide whether to follow Kenya’s lead of pulling out from the ICC.

“We will be at the meeting at some level, and we will be listening to our colleagues. Our ears will be open, but we are resolute in terms of standing by the principles of the International Criminal Court,” said Ramsay. “We are not only a party to the Rome Statute, but we were the first African country to ratify the Kampala amendments, which widened the court’s scope of prosecuting crimes against humanity.” 

Ramsay said it is unlikely that his government will end support for the ICC.

 “I do not want to speculate.  Of course, there are going to be discussions about the ICC at the summit, but withdrawal will be an extreme step,” said Ramsay.

A majority of members of the African Union (AU) are signatories to the Rome Stature that established the international court.

Ramsay however did not confirm whether Botswana President Ian Khama will attend the African leaders’ summit.

“Not as far as I know but, that still needs to be confirmed. Certainly Botswana will be represented at some level,” said Ramsay.
Clottey interview with Dr. Jeff Ramsay, Botswana's information minister
Clottey interview with Dr. Jeff Ramsay, Botswana's information minister i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Boitumelo Sekwababe from: Johannesburg
October 10, 2013 12:06 PM
Pround to be a citizen of this great country. If there are issues that Africa has with the ICC, work on them with your colleagues, pulling out leaves the world worse off.

by: wanntaal from: UK
October 10, 2013 9:11 AM
I entirely agree with Robert's analysis of the issues raised by Xaaji.

ICC exists to put an end to total impunity by holding into account those who committed or are committing war crimes. African leaders who have not committed war crimes are not targetted by the ICC. Those who committed attrocities know that they have nowhere to hide forever as they will be found and dragged to justice. Expect what goes around to sooner or later comes around and that day would be the day for the victims and families.

Just discussing the ridiculous option of pulling out of the ICC is a huge step backward. There are numerous serious matters that African leaders should focus their time and effort on like education, health, environment, employment, agriculture, etc...

The solution is simple and inpartial: "Do not commit war crimes if you do not want to be targetted and hunted down"

When an organisation is set up for the greater good of humanity, we all have the moral obligation to support and facilitate its success. I am Black African but proud of ICC work.. I work in a field where i everyday meet victims of related victims of war crimes. The crimes may have been committed long time ago but do still have desastrous on their lives. Unlike Europe, Africa's lack of re-education and medical facilities to deal with the consequences put victims and families in a more vulnerable position where they may never recover from the horrible experience forced upon them.
For the shake of justice.... ICC FOREVER

by: selwyn marock from: Johannesburg
October 10, 2013 8:49 AM
The last Bastion of good governance in Africa Botswana.Just wish our poor Rhino and Elephants could emigrate to your great country here they are doomed to extinction in the not too distant future

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
October 07, 2013 10:31 PM
Justice for all PERIOD. Black African leaders should not take into consideration justices exclusively for selective group. That's what's all about Rome Statute.
I have got hard time of understanding why ICC indicts only black African former and current presidents, vice presidents, journalists and janitors for what they call "war crimes". Very short while ago the world saw horrific images from Syria where the president mercilessly gassed thousands of women and children to death. No one is calling that a "war crime". There are lots of non black leader who commit war crimes for a living. AFRICA wake up!!
In Response

by: Robert from: South Africa
October 08, 2013 5:47 AM
Xaaij study which continent pushed for the creation of the ICC, yes Africa lead the charge. Post the genocide in Rwanda, the human rights abuses in West Africa and killing of over 3 million civilians (probably an understatement) in the DRC, during the 1990s numerous African Nations pushed hard for the implementation of an organization to hold war criminals to account.

Simple math explains why so many African “Leaders” are in the dock. It does not take the brains of an Archbishop to determine that where there is conflict there generally tends to be human rights abuses. According to the African Armed Journal Online there are currently more than 15 conflicts in Africa. Which other continent has this level of violence. So it should therefore not be a surprise that so many of us African’s have been fingered to explain our actions to the ICC. Xaai someone living in a country devastated by civil war, and if the media is to be believed (I do on this occasion) human rights abuses occur with devastating frequency would you not want those who have committed these abuses to stand trial for their actions?

Lastly this notion that only Africans are held to account by the ICC is faulty and it is worrying that the AU is portraying this message to Africa. The ICC has convicted, or helped convict war criminals in Europe and Asia. In the Former Yugoslavia the ICC has, or is in the process of charging: Prime Minister Slobodan Milošević (the first sitting head of state indicted for war crimes). Other "high level" indictees included Milan Babić, former President of the Republika Srpska Krajina; Ramush Haradinaj, former Prime Minister of Kosovo; Radovan Karadžić, former President of the Republika Srpska; Ratko Mladić, former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army and Ante Gotovina. I my opinion it is perhaps only the Serbian people who can question the unbiased nature of the ICC, considering that the ICC has yet to convict a non-Serb for war crimes in the Former Yugoslavia. And I am a firm believer of “it takes two to tango.”

Then there is Cambodia where the ICC has worked closely with the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia to convict five rather nasty Khmer Rouge leaders.

Xaaij don’t simply believe the rhetoric of our so called African Leaders. Their accusations against the ICC may just be to protect themselves. I’d rather someone held them to account than they promise to judge themselves. In legal terms we would have a case of nemo iudex in sua causa (being a judge in one’s own case). Fortunately history has proved us with an excellent example of what happens when rogue Nations decide they should not be held accountable to an international body, namely the demise of the League of Nations set up post the destruction of WWI. The end result was the greatest loss of life in mankind’s history namely WWII.

Africa suffers because of a lack of accountability, whether it is simple corruption or war crimes. To deny this is to deny that ones lungs require oxygen.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More