JOHANNESBURG – Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity, has labelled the ICC a “colonial tool” and called for the establishment of an African court of justice.
In 2009 and 2010, the ICC issued two arrest warrants against Bashir for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Sudan’s Darfur state, making him the first head of state to be charged by the Hague-based court since its inception in 2002.
However, Bashir rejected the ICC as biased against Africans while addressing the First African Conference Heads of Justice and Higher Courts in Khartoum, the Sudan Tribune reported on Sunday.
“Africans are convinced that the ICC is a colonial tool. This requires the founding of an African court to achieve justice that is based on evidence, not fabrication and political considerations,” said Bashir, adding that this was the reason the African Union (AU) had decided to collectively withdraw from the court.
The Sudanese President further accused the ICC of using double standards by targeting African leaders when it was members of the ICC who deserved to be tried.
According to Bashir, Africans were better able to assess themselves. “We don’t need a foreign or external assessment that serves specific agendas and uses criteria irrelevant to our values and customs.”
Underlining Sudan’s fight against terrorism, human trafficking and smuggling, and money laundering, he said his country would fight for protecting human rights, establishing good governance and the peaceful transformation of power.
Sudan’s Chief-Justice Haider Ahmed Dafalla also called for establishing an African tribunal to prevent foreign interference, conveying a message to the international community that Africa was capable of taking care of its own judicial affairs.
He expanded saying the current international judicial courts had no geographical relevance to Africa and further accused them of targeting the symbols of sovereignty on the continent while simultaneously questioning the integrity of the African judiciary.
Dafalla added that the time had come to launch an initiative to form an effective African judicial alliance to prevent foreign interference.
Sudan which is not a state member to the Rome Statute of the ICC has been campaigning for an African withdrawal from the court.
The African countries which advocate for withdrawal from the ICC, include Kenya, Sudan, Eritrea, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Libya and of course South Africa.
However, there are also African supporters of the ICC.
At the AU summit in July 2016 in Kigali in Rwanda the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia were among the countries that opposed a Kenyan-led drive for a group walkout from the tribunal.
The ICC has called for inquiries into war crimes and genocide allegedly perpetrated in Kenya, Ivory Coast, Libya, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda, Mali and, most recently, Georgia.