Human rights are to be respected and protected by States through all appropriate measures, so goes the rhetoric. States must also make solutions available at the domestic level to any citizen who claims his/her rights were violated. Individual victims of human rights violations also have the right to seek justice from regional or international institutions. In some countries, such violations are committed so grossly & systematically that the normal procedures through domestic justice appear insufficient to address them.
Abreha Z. Mesele has written (ICC and African Union: Selective Justice?) an informative piece on the recently inflamed ICC-African Union altercation, or rather African Union’s ringing condemnations of the practice of ICC, calling it big powers instrument of ‘pummelling the weak ones’. In this piece I would like to offer some of my views on the issue by responding to Abreha’s paper. Abreha has accomplished laying out the essential introductory ground-work, so I will refrain from any redundancy and delve straight into discussing the issues that I think are overlooked or misrepresented in the general discussion on the topic and in Abreha’s piece specifically.
Before I embarked upon the merit of the issue, some preliminary issues should be discussed to see whether the International Criminal Court (hereinafter called ICC) is targeting Africans. To arrive at a fair and balanced conclusion, there is a need to discuss how the ICC exercises jurisdiction over the most heinous crimes by taking the ICC Statute (Rome Statute). Here, membership, complementarity, referral, and treaty obligations should first be addressed to ascertain the claim that the ICC is selective and targeting Africans. Most, if not all, cases filed in the ICC in the year 2008 were cases from African soil; the issues, whether it was deliberate and targetfull, is going to be determined case by case and issue by issue bases later on.