The chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has rejected fierce criticism that her office is politically influenced by Western nations seeking to persecute Africans.
Fatou Bensuoda, a Gambian told the ongoing session of Assembly of States Parties to Rome Statute the withdrawal of her native Gambia, Burundi, and South Africa will not affect the work of the court in its drive to hold accountable those who violate human rights with impunity.
She vowed to prosecute any offender of crimes that fall within the jurisdiction and mandate of the court.
Following their withdrawal from the Rome Statute, Gambia, South Africa, and Burundi notified the United Nations in October and November of their plans to withdraw from the tribunal. The withdrawals become effective one year after the notification is filed, a UN spokesperson said.
Bensouda denied that the war crimes court is biased against Africans. Most of the cases brought to the court were referred by the government of African nations. Bensouda has at least 10 preliminary inquiries, including alleged crimes in Colombia, Georgia, Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Bensouda said African nations withdrawing is a setback and regression for the continent.
“Even if one country decides to withdraw from the ICC, this I believe, for the continent, speaking as an African, is a setback for the continent and this is also a regression for the continent,” Bensouda said.
The prosecutor strongly stated that the court will remain strong and focus despite recent withdrawals. Besnouda seemed determined to step up efforts to end impunity and crimes against humanity.