Viewpoint: On Africa and the ICC


By Eyob Balcha

When it comes to Africa pulling out of the ICC, I have a complicated feeling:

1) I honestly believe that the upcoming extra-ordinary meeting is intended to delay justice to the victims of the violence both in Kenya and Sudan.  African ‘leaders’ are making a historic error if they agree to withdraw from ICC.

2) So far, the Continental Human Rights instruments and institutions have not been functioning well mainly because of the political elements involved and the politicians are the one to blame. Without any proper continental and sub-regional Justice system in place, denouncing ICC is unacceptable.

3) I also share the notion that ICC has been very vocal on African cases and ignores other cases. For instance, George W. Bush is a War Criminal for what he did in Iraq but we have never heard anything in this regard.  This doesn’t mean however that African war crime suspects should not be prosecuted for what they probably have done.

4) If Al-Bashir and Uhuru Kenyata believe that they are innocents, why don’t they face the trial and prove themselves innocent rather than escape through the back-door?

5) Lastly, I like the way how one Ethiopian writer puts it ” … for African leaders; it’s an issue of governance when they kill citizens, but an issue of racism when they are asked about it by ICC”.



FEMNET (The African Women's Development and Communication Network) is a pan African, feminist organisation working to advance the rights of women and girls in Africa. FEMNET has carved a niche in Informing and mobilizing African women in order for them to participate and influence policies and processes that affect their lives. FEMNET has hundreds of members in over 40 countries in Africa as well as in the diaspora. It has played a critical role in building the women's movement in Africa since inception in 1988.

One response »

  1. I agree with your complicated feelings on this. I think many Africans feel the same. I think it’s not that the African cases don’t deserve to be there, but that they are the only ones there. If the rest of the world wants the ICC to continue, they should step up to the plate and participate. But at the same time, African leaders risk leaving the persecuted with no recourse to justice. This is also politics. The reason Kenya ended up there in the first place was because their parliament failed to hold those implicated in the 2007-2008 violence to account. As I wrote on my blog, that’s not encouraging:


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