ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bon Bensouda, has shrugged off allegations that the Hague based court is targeting African leaders.
She remarked: “It is not that ICC or my office or myself are going to target African leaders; it is too simplistic to say that, and that is disheartening.”
Madam Bensouda made this statement last week while talking to a group of West African journalists who went to visit the ICC at the Hague.
She remarked, “On the contrary, we are doing our obligation. This court was set up to investigate and prosecute crimes where we have jurisdiction. All these States, all the African States that are part of the ICC are also doing their obligation or duty or responsibility by referring cases to the ICC.”
She added, “If these crimes are committed in your territory and you are part of the ICC, you have to do the first obligation and if you cannot do it and you are part of the ICC, you can refer the situation to us to look at it. All the other situations had been under the request of the African States themselves. So where is the justification to the allegation for saying ICC is targeting Africa?”
According to her, there are some people who deliberately were spreading this false information for their own interest, adding those individuals have their supporters who were supporting them spread the message.
She remarked: “It can be very frustrating. We are not saying we should not be criticized or there can’t be a public debate about our work; there should be. It should be based on well-informed decision.”
She said such criticisms should be devoid of political posturing, adding people should look at the facts as they are.
“If you really look at the work ICC is doing, my office is looking closely at how those cases got to the ICC. How did they start? You will get to see that it is not the ICC bring those cases? These cases were actually referred to us by the African States themselves. All the cases that we are handling, I have said this several times and I have explained how it started with Uganda, DR Congo, Central African Republic, Mali and all these situations even recently Gabon referred a situation to us and I have looked at it and we told them that it really does not meet our criteria to open investigations.”