News / Africa

Analyst Questions ICC’s Intense Focus on Africa

Combination picture shows Kenya's then-finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Kenya's former Higher Education Minister William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in these April 8, 2011 (L) and September 1, 2011 file photos.
Combination picture shows Kenya's then-finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Kenya's former Higher Education Minister William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in these April 8, 2011 (L) and September 1, 2011 file photos.
James Butty
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is observing Genocide Awareness month. ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has called on nations to cooperate in pursuing accountability for genocide. 

But American University Professor David Bosco, writing in The Washington Post asked: "Why is the International Criminal Court Picking on Africa?"

Bensouda has denied the court targets only Africans.  She said the court is simply seeking justice for victims of crimes against humanity. 

Bosco, who teaches in the School of International Service, said, over the last decade, the ICC has opened eight investigations, all of them in Africa, with more than two dozen indictees.

"First of all, a number of regions in Africa remain conflict-prone, and so, because the criminal court focuses primarily on situations of armed conflict, those regions have obviously been areas of interest for the court.  Second, a number of African states chose to join the court, which gives the court broad jurisdiction over potential crimes committed on their territory," he said.

Bosco said another explanation why the ICC seems to be targeting Africa is that the U.N. Security Council, which has the power to expand the court’s reach by referring cases, has given the ICC more room to operate in Africa.

Butty interview with Bosco
Butty interview with Boscoi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Bosco said the ICC has not gone into other areas of conflict where it has jurisdiction, such as Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, or Sri Lanka.

“It’s important to note that the court could have opened some other investigations outside of Africa.  For example, the court has jurisdiction in Afghanistan and has not opened an investigation; it has jurisdiction in Colombia; it had jurisdiction in Georgia during the Russian and Georgian conflict," Bosco said.

Bensouda has denied the court has targeted only Africans.  She said the court is simply seeking justice for victims of crimes against humanity. 

But, Bosco said, while the ICC may say it is standing up for victims in Africa, it has not stood up for victims in other conflict areas of the world.

"The question now is, aren’t there also victims in Afghanistan; aren’t there also victims in Colombia, in Georgia, and other places?  And so, yes, she’s [Bensouda] right that the court is standing up for victims, but it’s standing up for victims in Africa and not in other places of the world," Bosco said.

Bosco said the indictments of Kenyan President-Elect Uhuru Kenyatta and his Vice President-Elect, William Ruto, could test Bensouda’s view.

"It remains to be seen whether Mr. Kenyatta will cooperate with the court once the time comes for his trial.  But, I think there is a distinct possibility that he will say that he’s not going to show [up] for his trial for a variety of reasons, and his lawyers have tried to have the case against [him] dismissed," Bosco said.

He said African leaders have taken note in the ICC’s intense interest in Africa, especially since the indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2010, which many African leaders thought would hurt the chances for peace in Sudan.

"I think there’s a real debate going on within the African Union and the membership about what the proper course is to take with the ICC.  And, certainly, some voices have suggested that it may be time for Africa to develop its own criminal court which could, in effect, handle the cases of violence without the ICC being involved," he said.

Bosco said the ICC’s focus on Africa may be due in part to the court not wanting to provoke powerful nations.

"It’s not so much that the court is biased against Africa as that it is reluctant to meddle in cases in which the geopolitics are intense," he said.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Matem Ngor Matem from: Uganda.
April 03, 2013 9:34 AM
Europeans must look at how Almighty father created people, God was not fool to create both man and woman but for the mutual satisfactory between man and woman, if we consider the same sex marriage, my question is, who will marriage the ladies? And can the world proceed? Who shall gave birth to who if man and man, woman and woman? Shame.

by: Matem Ngor Matem from: From Uganda.
April 03, 2013 9:20 AM
United Nations is working on the progress of the entire states around the globe, therefore, Countries around the world must take initiative to implement what is needed to be done in order to bring world, therefore, North Korea, Syria, and Iran who voted against the treat yesterday must be consider by UN because the are concern with world peace.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs