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The Gambia says it was withdrawing from the ICC

BBC African News
Gambian Pres. Yahya Jammeh
Gambian Pres. Yahya Jammeh

The Government of The Gambia says it was withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC) sitting in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Gambian Government is attributing its action to the world body’s continued ignorance of the “war crimes” of Western nations and seeking only to prosecute Africans.

According to the BBC, the Government made the pronouncement Tuesday, October 26, 2016.

The withdrawal decision by the West African nation comes just days after South Africa had said it was quitting The Hague-based Tribunal.

The Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, has called on the Court to investigate African migrants’ deaths on the Mediterranean Sea.

“This action is warranted by the fact that the ICC, despite being called the International Criminal Court, is in fact, an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans,” Information Minister Sheriff Bojang said on State Television.

The ICC was not immediately available for comment, but coming so soon after South Africa’s announcement, Gambia’s move added to pressure on the world’s first permanent War Crimes Court.

The Court has had to fight off allegations of pursuing a neo-colonial agenda in Africa, where all but one of its 10 investigations have been based.

Burundi has already said it plans to leave and Kenya’s Parliament is considering following suit.

The statement from The Gambia said it had sought to bring the European Union before the ICC over the deaths of migrants, but received no response.

Citizens of the Gambia make up a disproportionately high proportion of the African migrant flow to Europe.

“There are many Western countries, at least 30, that have committed heinous war crimes against independent sovereign states, but not a single Western criminals, since the creation of the ICC, has been indicted,” it said.

The ICC’s current Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, is a Gambian and was an adviser to Jammeh in the early years of his rule after he seized power in a coup in 1994. She later served as Justice Minister.

It is not the first time Jammeh has pulled his country - a popular beach destination for European tourists - out of an international institution.

In 2013, he withdrew The Gambia from the Commonwealth, the 54-member grouping, including Britain and most of its former colonies, branding it a “neo-colonial institution.”

Rights groups accuse Jammeh of cracking down on political opponents as he eyes a December election, where he will seek his fifth term after he scrapped term limits.



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