International human rights group, Amnesty International said The Gambia’s Information Minister’s statement that the ICC is persecuting and humiliating people of color, especially Africans is untrue with the world body being the only avenue for justice for many Africans.
Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International Research and Advocacy Director for Africa described The Gambia’s withdrawal as a blow to many victims of crimes against humanity and those that suffered rights violations.
“The announcement is a blow to millions of victims around the world, particularly coming as it does on the heels of recent moves by South Africa and Burundi to also withdraw from the ICC.”
Belay urged African nations to follow in the footsteps of Botswana rather than abruptly leaving the world tribunal.
The Gambia’s was particularly supportive of ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s leadership. Bensouda was the West African nation’s chief law enforcement officer and minister of justice and an advocate against global impunity. She has asked her team to assess the situation in The Gambia after security forces used excessive force to quash rare protests killing at least two and leaving several others wounded.
Amnesty says The Gambia cannot avoid its current responsibilities under international law by withdrawing from the ICC. The Gambia has refused to respect at least three ruling from the regional ECOWAS court and has failed has nearly a dozen overdue reports to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.
The country heads to the polls in December to elect a new president or retain incumbent President Yahya Jammeh.
President Yahya Jammeh has long mulled leaving the ICC after the court indicted Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“How can they try to put a sitting African president on trial and having him escorted into the court like a criminal? That is unacceptable and disrespectful to our continent,” Jammeh once said.