ICC selective accusation unfounded – Chief Prosecutor

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A Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda has rejected claims that the court is being selective in administering justice by targeting African leaders.

Addressing the first international forum on the ICC at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration in Accra on Thursday, Bensouda described the accusations as “unfounded”.

High profile persons tried at the ICC have largely been African leaders, notably former presidents Charles Taylor of Liberia and Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast.

But Fatou Bensouda revealed that the ICC has commissioned preliminary examinations in countries such as Georgia, Afghanistan, Columbia, Ukraine and Iraq detainees abuses by UK forces.

She said if the ICC is able to determine that those cases meet the legal requirement set out by the Rome statute, “I would not hesitate to open investigation into any of these situations”.

She however encouraged Africans to realise that holding persons responsible for atrocious crimes on the continent is key for the continent’s success

“To the extent that investigating and prosecuting mass atrocities will deter war making and commission of such destabilising crimes, certainly then criminal justice at the national or international level can play an important role in African’s economic growth and prosperity,” she underscored.

Fatou Bensouda, who is from The Gambia, said in the execution of its legal mandate, the ICC would be guided by “nothing but the law and evidence”.

The ICC prosecutor said the court will apply its provisions “without fear or favour”, adding it will continue to be “independent, impartial and fair”.

Fatou Bensouda also stated that it would be “irresponsible and morally unacceptable” for people to deny that Africa is faced with a number of challenges.

These challenges, she pointed out, must be addressed first and foremost by Africans.

Meanwhile, Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Dr Dominic Ayine advised Fatou Bensouda to tackle perception that the court is being selective in its prosecution.

“The perception of biases against Africa in the selection of cases to investigate and prosecute has arisen substantially as a result of the non-pursuit of cases elsewhere in the world which by any standards of criminal justice ought to have been investigated and prosecuted”, he said.

Source: Isaac Essel | 3news.com | Ghana

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