Geingob’s Undelivered Speech Blasts ICC

PRESIDENT Hage Geingob says African countries should pull out of the International Criminal Court if it is becoming an “abomination” by not serving its mandate.

In a prepared speech he was supposed to give at the African Union summit in South Africa but was not delivered yesterday, Geingob said the ICC should stay out of domestic affairs in countries such as Kenya.

The speech, sent out to the media, came a few hours after a South African court was approached by the Southern Africa Litigtion Centre to cause the arrest of Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir.

An urgent application was made by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre to have Al-Bashir arrested and handed over to the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur conflict, that killed more than 300 000, according to the United Nations.

“Some people are saying we are the ones who created the ICC. However, when one creates something to be an asset but later on it becomes an abomination, you have the right to quit it since it has ceased serving its intended purpose,” the speech said.

“No institution or country can dictate to Africans, who and by whom they should be governed. The ICC must therefore stay out of Kenya’s domestic affairs,” he said, referring to the case of accused Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kenyatta was accused by the ICC of crimes against humanity for allegedly inciting post-election violence in 2008, in which more than 1 200 Kenyans were killed. That case was dropped last year after the prosecutor’s office said it did not have enough evidence to prove his criminal responsibility.

“The Kenyan people went to the polls as a sovereign people and sat in judgement of these two gentlemen about whom much was being said. The highest court of Kenya – the people – have spoken. Therefore, the case is res judicata (matter that has been adjudicated by a competent court and may not be pursued further by the same parties),” the President said.

The ruling Swapo Party has over the years repeatedly criticised the ICC for being biased against African and other developing countries and targeting particularly African leaders.

Namibia signed the Rome Statute in 2002, which means that the country has committed itself to cooperating with the ICC to fight impunity worldwide.

In 2002, former President Hifikepunye Pohamba said that the ICC should at all times be guided by fairness and objective assessment to ensure justice.

“We should avoid the temptation of subjecting this institution to self-serving political considerations and influences,” Pohamba said.

In 2007, the National Society of Human Rights (NSHR), now NamRights, lodged a submission to the ICC, requesting that former President Sam Nujoma, former defence minister Erkki Nghimtina, former chief of defence Solomon ‘Jesus’ Hawala and NDF first battalion colonel Thomas Shuuya be investigated for ‘instigation, planning, supervision, abetting, aiding, and defending the disappearance of hundreds of Namibians.

Based in the Hague in the Netherlands, the ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Source : The Namibian