Related Stories By Philip T Shingirai Published: 20120326
To hell with The Hague!


The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague in The Netherlands is one of the greatest achievements of the international community.

It provided an opportunity to end widespread oppression of weak states by the powerful.

Unfortunately, that has not been the case.

The ICC serves as a tool with which to beat Africa while ignoring the excesses of the powerful and rich in the West.

Africa is still waiting for an explanation on why the ICC is preoccupied with the continent and yet Western countries continue to commit and fund atrocities all over the world.

Most recently, we have seen the recent conviction of Congolese warlord, Thomas Lubanga, for conscripting child soldiers in the DRC.

No one can, nor should, defend Lubanga’s activities in Central Africa.

The continent does not need the likes of him.

Lubanga (51) was found guilty of enlisting child soldiers to fight for his militia in a gold-rich region of the DRC in the bloody four-year war that ended in 2003.

Prosecutors told the court that militia under Lubanga’s control abducted and conscripted children as young as 11 from their homes, schools and football fields to serve as soldiers, and that young girls were used as sex slaves.

We are told that Lubanga’s fate at the hands of the international justice system will send a strong and spine-chilling message to those associated with war crimes in the world.

What a laugh!

The ICC has been unnervingly silent about the roles that Uganda and Rwanda played in the deaths of millions of people in the DRC.

Is this because these countries were acting with the backing of the US, Britain, France and other Western powers?

Are they afraid that these Western powers and their leaders would be implicated in the murders of millions should Rwanda and Uganda be investigated?

This certainly seems to be the case.

After all, nothing has been done about George W Bush and Tony Blair’s wars in the Middle East.

The Hague is also in the process of pinning down former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, for conscripting child soldiers, gross human rights abuses and the murder of innocent civilians in the sponsored civil war during his reign.

No right-thinking African would side with Taylor’s atrocious killings in Liberia. But anyone with a sense of justice would want the ICC to probe how the US and other Western countries created the monster that was Charles Taylor, how they abetted his rule and how they benefitted from his abuses.

That would surely set a benchmark for the world on what should be done to perpetrators of war crimes and killing of innocent civilians.

The media has quoted Zimbabwe’s Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa, as saying the ICC, although an important institution, has all too often lacked fairness. According to Chinamasa, the ICC is a “glorified kangaroo court lacking impartiality”.

This is criticism that many people hold to be true.

The selective prosecution at The Hague that has seen the likes of Blair, Bush, Kagame and Museveni going scot-free does nothing to instil faith in the international justice system.

Just last year, the West was complicit in starting a war in Libya that resulted in the death of an untold number of civilians and forcing a change of government.

Nothing has been done about that, but the ICC is eager to prosecute members of the former regime led by Muammar Gaddafi, who was murdered in broad daylight.

Former US Secretary of State, Collin Powel, is on record confessing that the Bush regime that he worked for lied so that it could start the war in Iraq.

Powell told Al Jazeera late last year that: “It turned out, as we discovered later, that a lot of sources that had been attested to by the intelligence community were wrong.

“I understood the consequences of that failure and, as I said, I deeply regret that the information ‑ some of the information, not all of it ‑ was wrong.

“It has blotted my record, but ‑ you know ‑ there’s nothing I can do to change that blot.

“All I can say is that I gave it the best analysis that I could.”

Is that good enough when tens of thousands of civilians have been murdered by the US in Iraq to date?

Does that testimony not lay the basis for at least an investigation into the war on Iraq?

Many thousands more have perished in Afghanistan at the hands of the American and British governments.

The number of those dead in Libya has not been – and will likely not be – quantified.

Who is demanding justice for the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and the DRC among other places where the West is committing crimes against humanity?

But complaining about the injustice of the system is not enough. Africa must retaliate. Namibia’s Founding President, Dr Sam Nujoma, recently told The Southern Times that Africa must prepare for war because that is the only language that the West understands.

And he is right!

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has often called for Africans to stand together in defence of their own sovereignty.

He is also right!

What stops Africa from defending its own, from simply saying to the West we will not give you our diamonds, gold, platinum, uranium etc if you keep on oppressing us?

They cannot bomb us all if we stand united.

The reason why African states are picked off and their leaders shipped to The Hague is because we stand aloof and allow such things to happen. The US has a law called the American Servicemembers Act that allows Congress to declare war on The Hague if any American is taken to that court.

So why do we try and act more “democratic” than those who preach this “democracy” to us?