Friday, August 07, 2009

The ICC, Bush, Blair, Botha and African Leaders--What You Should Know

I am someone who is passionate about the sufferance of a people or an individual and no matter how dire the circumstances may be or how much it may cost, I believe that human lives must be saved. Thus, saving lives should first our actions and be second to none. Hence, it is only with happiness and glad in my heart when the International Criminal Court was established in The Hague. I was even more glad when Ghana ratified the bill establishing this court implying that whoever commits human atrocities, wherever in the world, and finds his/her way into the country, Ghana has the obligation to arrest this individual and hand him over to the ICC to be trialed. What a philosophy! What a way to prevent rogues and arrogant people from snatching lives from people and fleeing from their actions with impunity. I was even more glad when Professor Kunyehia, a Ghanaian female lawyer, was called up to be one of the court's first prosecutors.

However, just after Ghana ratified this bill, after accepting that we would hand over every military and civilian who commits human rights atrocities to the ICC, there came America, the Great Nation on earth to bully us to succumb to their quest. The Non-Surrender treaty was signed between America and several countries including Ghana. The implication being that when any American citizen commits any human rights atrocities and comes to Ghana, Ghana, as a country would not hand him over to the ICC but would hand him over to the authorities in America. Where lies our faith, our loyalty and our integrity. As a country, we back-stabbed the ICC. Thus, an ordinary American citizen who has committed human rights atrocities became even more important than an African head of state who has committed same crime--some animals being more equal than others.

Hence, is it a wonder that upon all the 2,889 communications or referrals or alerts that the ICC has received, the ones it has worked on are on Africans: Taylor, Al-Bashir and Habre. Are you shocked? According to Palayiwa (in the May 2009 edition of New African): By October 2007, the ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, had received 2,889 communications...about alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in at least 139 countries, and yet by March 2009, the prosecutor had opened investigations in just four cases: Uganda, DR Congo. the Central African Republic and Sudan/Darfur--all in Africa. Thirteen public warrants of arrest had been issued, all against Africans. Does Africa has monopoly over human rights abuses? Why hasn't those human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) called for the arrest of George Bush and Tony Blair after waging an 'illegal war' (according to Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations). And do you ever think they would be brought to book? According to Robin Cook, the former British Foreign Secretary, the ICC is not a court set up to bring to book prime ministers of the United Kingdom or presidents of the United States (New African, May & July, 2009). Hence, do not be deceived by the propagandists who say that the fact that Bush and Blair has not been arrested does not mean that Taylor and Bashir could not be. It is only the moron or the pathetically gullible ignoramus who would swallow this excuse without realising the hook attached to the line.

We would all understand this if we know that Dr John Laughland wrote in August 2000 that the ICC is just another excuse for superpower bullying. The Court will be another example in the over-globalised world of an institution that lends legitimacy to the Great Power bullying of weaker nations (The Times, 29 August, 2009 in New African May 2009). Who is bringing the Germans to book for decimating the Herero and Nama in Namibia between 1904-1908? Let's not as Africans remain stooges and begin to think that we are the inventors of atrocities and that it is embedded in our genes hence, it requires some folks with their knowledge of exorcism to uproot it from our beings. By the way was P. W. Botha the staunch advocate of South Africa's apartheid rule ever brought to book? He was forgiven for his crimes and no complain about impunity was ever raised by any human rights group. Or is not a crime if it is perpetrated by whites against blacks? F. W. de Klerk was even awarded a Nobel Peace Prize even though it was clear that the return to a unified government wasn't purely his doing but rather an inevitable end that the struggle of South Africa must come to.

Also, it is very clear from all these that impunity becomes a word for the numerous puppet human rights NGOs when it is by blacks who don't sing Western praises or who have lost their voices and fallen out of favour with their Western puppet-master. If not why haven't those same NGOs talked about the impunity in "DR Congo where the wars waged by Rwanda and Uganda between 1996 and 2003 on behalf of America and Western interests have led to an estimated five million deaths in Congo" (NA, July 2009).

This is why I speak vehemently against those Africans who see Africans as only corrupt and wicked; that's why I speak against other bloggers who want to tell us that the only reason why the International Organisations and NGOs call for investigation into matters is because they 'love' us and have our interest at heart. Let's not deceive ourselves and others; let's not be consumed by their hypocrisy...and until America and Britain are charged for their crimes against humanity in Iraq, no other work by the ICC would convince me of their neutrality, of their independence. David Crane, the American former prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone said after arresting Taylor that: My intent was to humble and humiliate Charles Taylor before his peers, the leaders of Africa and to serve notice to Taylor and others that the days of impunity in Africa are over (NA May, 2009). What a statement! What about the state of impunity in Iraq and Palestine! Are some group of people more human than others? And have Africans come to accept this state of being lesser humans? Have we? Let's face it, could this be said of any American or Western leader?

I heard the ICC wants to intervene in the Kenyan crises. Funny! Is the Kenyan crises the same as the Iraqi crises? Can't Kenyans deal with their own problems? This is a new face of colonialism and just as our forefathers were fooled, if we do not take care before we would realise they would have turned over our judicial system to such an extent that they would have jurisdiction over every crime committed anywhere in Africa. What then becomes of a country if its judiciary is controlled by hands unknown to the people? Three hundred years ago, they came in ships with guns and gun powders and chains to take away the men and women of Africa. Three hundred years later, they have come with pens and laws and words for the final push into oblivion. Once they had our minds making us blind of our selves, of our capabilities, now they want our heads to make us lose ourselves. Africans Beware of the ICC and its selective justice.

A people losing sight of origins are dead. A people deaf to purposes are lost. Under fertile rain, in scorching sunshine there is no difference: their bodies are mere corpses, awaiting final burial--Ayi Kwei Armah (Two Thousand Seasons, 1973 & 2000, Per Ankh)

6 comments:

  1. wow man!
    i love your dissection of the issues here.

    and i appreciate your opinion.

    but i share a different opinion:
    i don't think it's a big deal if it takes the ICC for common rogues and murderers and thieves who have paraded themselves as African leaders to answer for their actions and inactions! their many many many victims did not ask for their predicaments. look at the Sierra Leone 'short' and 'long' sleeves for example.

    i mean i wouldn't have bothered much if Saddam Hussein was indicted by the ICC as compared to the US invasion of Iraq. that would have been a more sound approach.

    crime is crime and i don't think that crime has any colour no matter how some people would want to pick and choose and colour (with 'national colours').

    by the clear records anyway, the ICC has not only indicted or tried only African leaders. Milosovic 'the' Slobodan one of a 'trial-cut-short' (he died) is on the record. i wish they would still go on with the trial to pass judgment. i wish.

    and let me just say here that that man too had his people (the Serbs) making arguments against the ICC trial as they saw it more like a 'kidnapping' of their national. and they too were worried that Americans would not submit to the ICC so why should the Balkans? and they also thought they had the capacity to deal with Milosovic. even his bitterest rivals were not in support of his extradition.

    Milosovic himself questioned the legality of the ICC where i think he had some legitimate points and i wish the world including Africans and Americans would rather look and learn from that to improve the ICC instead of wondering who should be tried and who should not be tried.

    i don't support the AU's move to oppose the indictment of Bashir by the ICC and the call to have him extradited. and i believe all who supported that move including Ghana made a big mistake. AU is not even providing a better alternative to the Bashir nonsense.

    these are common criminals and need to be treated as such.

    maybe i don't agree with you because i don't believe in such theories as 'patriotism' or 'loyalty' or even 'nationalism'. may be so. and may be not so! may be is a nice expression everyday.

    i'm looking at this issue as a citizen of the world rather than a national of any one country. i have long shed off my nationality to any one country though i hold a Ghanaian passport.

    for me all the talk about disgracing African leaders does not arise. in fact why should anybody worry about disgracing people who need to be disgraced anyway???

    so i ask myself, if even America would not have it's citizens tried at the ICC then what? so what? so if an African man needs to undergo trial he shouldn't???

    and i'm happy you mentioned the non-surrender treaty. and there is a Ghanaian woman on that trial panel too. i mean, if Africans do such to themselves then what is the basis for saying America is to blame?

    African man agrees with America not to hand over any American citizen for trial at the ICC and then turns round to accuse America of playing double standards. what standards are Africans themselves playing by???

    so i really don't see the point! i believe we must commit to the ICC for all the difficulties that 'ordinary' Africans face in seeking justice.

    we either commit to the ICC or pull out!

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  2. #1
    thanks Novisi. I get your point. The source of the differences in opinions lies in how we identify ourselves. Since you consider yourself a citizen of the world, it is very easy for you to come to such a conclusion. However, I am an African first and foremost and issues that make Africa seem inferior to others make me tick. Don't get me wrong, I am not against the trial and subsequent sentencing of individuals who have committed crimes against humanity. I am all for it but in doing so let it not be seemed that we are all of a sudden in an once upon an Elliotian tale where some animals are more equal than others. As Ayi Kwei Armah said in his book 'Two Thousand Seasons' that it is our over generosity and reliance on common sense that made us lost the way and allowed them to enslave us. I am vehemently opposed to anything that has semblance of re-colonisation and that is what I see in this 'caricature' court. Why should some individuals commit human rights atrocities and go about and hit their chest like it's nobody's business whilst others commit same crime and be put in chains even? What is the difference between the alleged crimes by Taylor and the millions dying in Iraq. I am against any kind of biasness. Besides, who create these rogues and thugs? Hussein was considered as the best man to rule Iraq by Americans even after he has committed the crime he was later to be charged. However, when he refused to sing their songs they put a false charge on him and was to be later arrested and hanged. Americans worked with him even when they knew that he had ordered the killing of a Muslim sect. So where lies the integrity of Americans and the West? Charles Taylor was supported by the Americans during the war in Liberia. In fact Sirleaf Johnson worked with Taylor at one point. Yet, when he fell out of favour in Iraq they quickly had him arrested. Jonas Savimbe was supported by the Americans, even though he was killing a lot of people in Angola. Americans are supporting a lot of Ugandans and Rwandans to fight for their interest in DR Congo. Soon, when these rebels fall out of favour they would hunt for them and sentence them. It is like your 'friend' coming to your household and arming your first born to kill people in your household so that he can bring to him your properties. Later he comes back and arrest your son and tell you he is going to sentence him, how would you feel? I do not see nothing wrong if Taylor is tried by Liberians and sentence to death...if he is found guilty of the atrocities in both Liberia and/or Sierra Leone. But I would not stooge if these individuals who wouldn't even allow their common citizen to face the ICC would want Taylor be tried by the ICC. Like I said I am an African first and this serves me not. The idea of making the world look unto us as a bunch of thugs. By the way who purchased Taylor's diamonds? Who exchanged it with weapons. Apart from South Africa, which Sub-Saharan African country manufacture guns?

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  3. #2
    I see all these as the Second Coming! Gradually, they are upon us and we would wake up one day to realise that they have rewritten our laws and I wonder what then would be of our countries. I wish all African countries would pull out of the ICC and use their common resources to set up a common court to try these cases on African soil with African laws. We shouldn't accept these caricature court which seemed to have been set up for one group of people. I get you on Slobodan Milosovic's issue but since no conclusion was drawn (as a result of his demise) I wouldn't count that as a trial. Let's not sleep, just as our forefathers slept and were overtaken by their generosity...It is high time we realised their strategies else posterity would judge us with the same measure we use to judge our forefathers. May be I am seeing things differently but I think Africans are no lesser human beings. Americans and the West have taken it upon themselves to dictate to us our every step. That's why we are a lost people. How does one become a citizen of the world if the leaders and rulers and dictators of the world see themselves different from and superior to you, novisi?

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  4. interesting points there Nana.

    this is how i see it:
    if a 'white' man gives my son a gun to come for my properties and after the deal is done the same white man comes after my son, then for me it's a simple matter. both my son and that white man are guilty. it's called conspiracy! i'd either club them both or hug them both!

    both must be treated equally.

    i think we could all play the identity game. but to what end really?
    i mean bring Charles Taylor down to Africa and take him to North Africa say Morocco (Moroccans have some African Identity problem) for trial and West Africans would cry foul. bring him to West Africa say, Guinea and Liberians would cry foul.

    Here you'd say ok ok, let's give him to Liberians cos he's one. Then have a Kru man as prosecutor and the Americo-Liberians would think you are up against them. and so on and so on down to family differences and if you are not careful you'd end up blowing your own head with a double-barrel gun leaving Taylor free.

    another interesting angle is that same Africans who are crying foul over bias by the ICC claiming that it amounts to 'neo-colonial' or recolonizing means are same people who cry against Bill Clinton, the US and the UN and the West in general for displaying disinterest in preventing the Rwanda genocide!

    same people say OH, why won't the US help bring peace to Somalia???? and of course you've already mentioned the 'non-surrender' agreement. such contradictions!

    i don't know how we manage to live with such a contradictions.

    so really i see the ID game as something we should not bother about too much as human beings. Else what did Martin Luther and Rosa Park fight for?

    and yes, really instead of Africans 'sulking' about bias, why not just pull out of the ICC. why not pull out of the 'non-surrender' agreement!

    i take a good lesson from the slave trade: both whites and blacks started, fueled it and made it blossom. and at the end too, both whites and blacks quenched it!!! and amidst all that, not every black was against it and not every white was for it.

    That means that human beings have unique differences no matter what associations we force on ourselves or sweetly choose.

    and just to add, to answer your question about how does one become a citizen of the world if the leaders of the world see themselves as superior to you?

    for me it's pretty simple. i mind more how i see myself than what someone sees me! i don't care if anyone thinks me a monkey once my life is not threatened.

    if my own mum threatens my life i would grab a knife just as i'd do if Tony Blair does same to me. for me the substance matters (life in this case) more than who is involved.

    having said all this. let me add too that i'm proud of my roots. i cherish my roots but that is just that. and i respect everyone else for their roots. we don't have the power to choose these things.

    man, i'm flooding you blog now. peace!

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  5. novisi...good to read your comments. Thought my response would be too much for you to read. But you did read and made your comments. Your points are well made. I also get your point. Trying to prevent a reverse racism...I am kind of fond of retaliation...hehehehehe. Your point is well made. very well made.

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  6. The ICC is for the Black, brown, and the white East European man...NOT THE WHITE WESTERN MAN

    ReplyDelete

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