Known on the continent as the “African Criminal Court” due to its exclusive indictments, prosecution and persecution of African leaders, the International Criminal Court has refused to drop charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Kenyatta was elected by over 50 percent of the people during internationally supervised polls in early March.
The U.S. State Department’s top African envoy, Johnnie Carson, had warned the Kenyan electorate that if Kenyatta outpolled former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, there would be a price to pay. Britain’s Foreign Office said that if Kenyatta won, London would maintain relations at a distance. Despite U.S. and British threats, Kenya’s electorate placed Kenyatta in office.
Kenyatta, 51, is the son of Kenya’s first president and nationalist leader, Jomo Kenyatta, who was a staunch ally of Washington and London during the 1960s and 1970s.
Nonetheless, in the modern period, the imperialist states are bent on total control of political developments in Africa. Although both Britain and the U.S. will not subject their political leaders to international scrutiny, they have consistently utilized the ICC and earlier special courts in the Netherlands to hound African leaders and those like former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic who resist Western dominance.
Kenyatta’s co-defendant, Francis Muthaura, had all charges dropped against him, resulting from the failure of the principal witness to provide testimony. The two denied charges of financing criminal gangs to attack political opponents in the aftermath of disputed elections during 2007-2008. Kenyatta says he is willing to defend himself before the ICC.
Kenyatta’s lawyer, Steven Kay, stressed that the charges against his client should be dropped since the main witness is refusing to testify. Kay says that based on these developments the case should go back to the pre-trial phase to determine whether there is even enough evidence to continue. (bbc.co.uk, March 18)
ICC continues tradition
The ICC is also attacking Republic of Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has refused to acknowledge or recognize the charges filed under the previous prosecutor. President Bashir says that the charges are designed to destabilize his government and country, which is not even a party to the Rome Statute, the basis for the creation of the ICC.
Ousted President Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast is also currently facing charges before the ICC. Gbagbo was overthrown by France in 2011 because he refused to allow the imperialist states and their allies to determine who should be allowed to hold office in the West African country. Alassane Ouattara, who was backed by the West, assumed power after French military action led to the overthrow and capture of Gbagbo and his forced exile from the former French colony.
Gbagbo has rejected the charges against him and says that he has always been committed to a democratic process of governance.
A Special Tribunal on Sierra Leone prosecuted former Republic of Liberia President Charles Taylor and convicted him in 2012 for involvement in a war in the neighboring country. The Special Tribunal on Sierra Leone attempted to blame Taylor for the proliferation of illegal diamond trading internationally. This trading, which has existed for centuries, is controlled by various imperialist states.
When the U.S. and NATO waged its war to overthrow Col. Moammar Gadhafi and the Libyan (Jamahiriya) government in 2011, the ICC indicted Gadhafi and his son Seif al-Islam. Gadhafi was brutally assassinated under the aegis of the White House on Oct. 20, 2011, and Seif was later captured by Western-backed militias that still hold him inside Libya.
Although the ICC admits that Seif cannot get a fair trial under the existing regime now running Libya, it has filed no charges against this regime, which is violating the rights of thousands of Libyans and foreign nationals held illegally inside the country. A delegation sent to Libya in 2012 to investigate Seif al-Islam’s status was held for weeks by the same militia forces that illegally detain Gadhafi’s son.
The stage was set for convening such tribunals and courts in The Hague, Netherlands, following the coup against Milosevic in 2000. The U.S. and other imperialists had already used intervention and war to largely dismembered Yugoslavia. NATO then kidnapped Milosevic and put him on trial in The Hague. He died in captivity in 2006.
Nearly all trials in The Hague’s international tribunals have been aimed at those the imperialists consider their enemies. Yet the Western imperialist states are never held accountable for the horrendous war crimes carried out in Afghanistan, Panama, Grenada, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Zimbabwe and Colombia where millions have died over the last three decades.