The Kenyan government should bear the absolute blame for the current woes facing the International Criminal Court because it initiated the now intensified clamor from the international community to desert the Hague based institution. Following the 2007 post-election violence, the Kenyan government led by then vice president Kalonzo Musyoka spearheaded a government sponsored shuttle diplomacy that was meant to formulate an all-African court to address the continent’s issues.
This diplomatic movement was ill informed as it sought to protect key suspects involved in Kenya’s worst post-election violence since independence. It sorely aimed to ensure African leaders escaped justice on the African soil before landing at the Netherlands. The Kenyan administration as well as other African countries knew that the formation of an independent African court was a far-fetched dream as it would require massive transparency, collaboration, finances and political good-will, something that most African countries would never guarantee.
Its only after the Kenyan case entered the Hague corridors that allegations emerged that the international court was being manipulated by the West to install illegitimate leaders on African countries while cleverly wishing to incarcerate those democratically chosen by the people. Of course, politicians like the octogenarians Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe who have since run their economies to the ditch took advantage of the situation to discredit the international criminal court for their own benefit.
Now its official, Russia is leaving the International Criminal Court and the Philippines may be following soon. The surging urge by the international community to depart from the ICC might as well have been influenced by the uncertainty created by US elect president Donald Trump; however the move casts doubts on how errand world leaders will be brought to justice in future. The Hague based institution has been marred by allegations of demon handing African leaders. It has constantly come under intense international criticism for going extremely easy on Western nations while being exceptionally over-bearing on African countries.
South Africa has cited interference of the court on its diplomatic relations especially after it failed to arrest the embattled Sudan President Omar Al Bashir while on a state visit. The war ravaged Gambia has also officially submitted necessary documentations that will make it leave the International court in a year’s time while a host of other African countries led by Kenya have suggested mass exodus, a move that would critically hobble the already crippled court. It may be no surprise to hear the inhuman South Sudanese leaders and warlords calling for the dissolution of the ICC even though they have overseen mass killing of populations in equivalence to genocide in the young republic.
The African continent lacks the capacity to handle cases of excessive human rights violations because of extremely high executive control on other government’s institutions including the judiciary and parliaments. For, instance the highly advocated for local court that was meant to prosecute individuals involved in the 2007-08 post-election violence in Kenya is already a forgone story. No single individual has been prosecuted for the more than 1500 deaths in politically instigated tribal clashes pitting the Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Dholuo, the three main local communities jostling for political dominance in Kenya. Furthermore, no significant progress has been made by the government to reconcile these communities.
Russia’s bombardment of Syria makes it lack credibility at the global scene. Her decision to vacate the ICC should by no means usher in a renewed urge by African countries to jump the ship. The Rome statute was meant to ensure that those African leaders that seek to violate the provisions of their constitutions or blatantly disregard human life in their quest to remain in power indefinitely faced an alternative form of justice at the glare of the international community. The Kenyan government relentless call for massive ICC walkout is thus unquestionably ill advised, diabolical and one that will likely result in warlords and other corrupt African leaders walking away with impunity.
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