Gambia slates ICC over 'persecution of people of colour'

The country is the latest African nation to announce it will break ties with the International Criminal Court.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

The ICC is an intergovernmental organisation which has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Updated Oct 27, 2016

Gambia said it will withdraw from the International Criminal Court, accusing it of “persecution and humiliation of people of colour” while turning a blind eye to crimes by western nations.

The announcement came the same month that South Africa and Burundi started processes to quit the international court. Namibia and Kenya have also been mulling an exit from the body set up to investigate crimes against humanity. The African nations say the court is discriminatory, however, former ICC members have criticised the move as means to give country leaders a free hand to "commit genocide."

"There are many Western countries, at least 30, that have committed heinous war crimes against independent sovereign states and their citizens since the creation of the ICC and not a single Western war criminal has been indicted," Gambia’s Information Minister Sheriff Bojang, said in an announcement on state television on Tuesday.

Gambia has been trying, without success, to use the ICC to punish the European Union for the deaths of thousands of African refugees and migrants trying to reach its shores.

The ICC, which was set up in 2002, struggles to ensure member states adhere to its rules, including the US, which has signed the treaty but never ratified it. 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, on Tuesday, urged member states to reconsider withdrawing from the ICC.

“The court’s decisions lift tension in conflict-torn regions. They help states close long-standing and damaging chapters in their common history and find a way to build trust and mutually beneficial partnerships,” Ban said in a statement.