Gambia’s President Adama Barrow had met with the ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, a former Attorney General for the West African nation’s ousted autocratic ruler, Yahya Jammeh.
African countries are working towards abandoning the international tribunal but Mr. Barrow has assured Bensouda of his support as part of a discussion that covered human rights concerns of the past regime.
Jammeh had taken a unilateral decision last year to withdraw the Gambia from the International Criminal Court, a decision that Mr. Barrow quickly rescinded after he took power in January.
Opposition activists, whose parties back Barrow’s presidency accused Bensouda of remaining silent over human rights violation in her native country. Bensouda in her defense says the threshold has not reached a level of her court’s involvement.
Barrow’s party, the UDP had urged the ICC to open an investigation after protests turned violent in April last year, leading to two deaths and the torture of tens of political detainees.
Bensouda, who had issued stern warnings to avert electoral violence in Nigeria and Kenya, remained silent after former President Jammeh refused to cede power, forcing West African leaders to militarily intervene.
The UN Human Rights Commission had warned it will hold Jammeh and his officials responsible for any deaths in the standoff that nearly led to a bloodbath.
Jammeh’s government, which came to power in a 1994 coup, frequently committed serious human rights violations including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, and torture against those who voiced opposition to the government.