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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid