Sunday, March 15, 2009

The International Criminal Court and African leaders!



On saturday 14th March 2009, the lead defence counsel, Courtenay Griffith Q.C, for the former Liberian leader, Charles Taylor (standing trial at The Hague), organised a press conference in Accra concerning the current status of the trial.




Charles Taylor is standing trial for allegedwar crimes and crimes against humanity for his support to the rebel group, RUF( Revolutionary United Front) in Sierra Leone from 1991-2001.

alot of questions was raised by his defence counsel at the press conference regarding why the ICC is targeting only african leaders, who are not known to have any support from the West. So Jonas Savimbi is free while Al-Bashir is refusing to be dragged, nontheless a note of caution has be given to Robert Mugabe to watch out!

It appears that the workings of the ICC has not gained much publicity in Africa, even though Africans are being arranged to stand trial.

Is there a need for networks of advocacy groups to agitate across Africa to stop the process of the ICC?

Should the African Union set up its own Justice court for Africans who commit such crimes?

But it's deeper than we may think, Huge oil deposits has been found to lying along the Gulf of West Africa.

 Liberia is yet to explore its own, when Charles Taylor was in power he rejected exploitative proposals by HALLIBURTON(a US-based oilfield services corporation with international corporations in over 70 countries) . to explore the oil reserves. He was more comfortable to work with the Chinese, same way the Chinese are major trade partners to Sudan. Any connections with the AL-Bashir case and why China was opposed to his arrest warrant? Have we also forgotten the interests of HALLIBURTON in Iraq?

Mr. Griffith was emphatic, "Charles Taylor will win if he stood for any election in Liberia today".
In my opinion it will be a very bad example for the West to consider after all their vilification of the Mr. Taylor.

Indeed its more than just war crimes and crimes against Humanity, else Jnr.Bush and his "one time" side-kick and protege, Blair, will also be facing facing charges by now.

Is it a matter of giving a dog bad name to hang it? while you, sarcastically, take his bone!

i reproduce here the full text of the press statement:

PRESS STATEMENT: BY COURTENAY GRIFFITHS, Q.C

DEFENCE LEAD COUNSEL FOR CHARLES TAYLOR

ACCRA, GHANA 14TH MARCH 2009

 I have come to the birthplace of Pan-Africanism in the hope that we can together rekindle that non-negotiable demand that Africans be treated equally on the global stage. Sadly, of the experiences of Charles Taylor and more recently President Al Bashir of Sudan provide a guide, then we must be prepared to re-engage with renewed vigour in that struggle.

 

In both instances the “international community” the code for western interests is promoting the idea that there can be no impunity for those who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is somewhat curious then that no one is calling with equal ferocity for either former President Bush or former British Prime Minister to stand trial for atrocities instigated by them in Iraq. Likewise there is a studied silence from that same “international community” when it comes to the crimes committed so recently by the state of Israel in Gaza. The cruel reality is that impunity only becomes an issue if the perpetrator is a black African who does not enjoy the backing of the West, hence a Jonas Savimbi is safe.

 

This is an opportune time to consider that debate. When Charles Taylor was arrested and dragged in chains to The Hague in Holland to stand trial, he warned, to borrow a phrase, that if they came for him in the morning they would come for others that night. That vision has now come true as the president of Sudan can now testify, and watch out Robert Mugabe!

 

It is time for Africans to take charge of their own destinies. Taylor’s trial has received very little publicity here in Africa, yet it is the continent most affected by the outcome of those proceedings. Why did his trial not take place in Africa? Why has the Africa Union not established its own to deal with issues which affect Africans in Africa? If a corporal in the American Army cannot be tried in the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, how comes an African president can?

 

One reason that Taylor’s trial and the trials of other Africans were taken to The Hague is because it is easier to destroy the rights of a people when they are kept in the dark. The majority of Africans haven’t got a clue about what is going on n The Hague. It is time for us to shed some light on this misuse of international criminal law. That can only be done if organise to ensure the rights of our African sons and daughters are given proper regard and that international criminal law does not become a 21st century form of neo-colonialism. This is not just about Charles Taylor but it is a useful place to start. We who defend him need your support.


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