RE: “Why is the International Criminal Court picking only on Africa?” By David Bosco, Op-Ed, March 29. The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) approach, in which initial situations are in fact chosen by the Prosecutor and not “the ICC”, follows a set of established phases. There are currently preliminary examinations occurring in Afghanistan, Georgia, Guinea, Colombia, Honduras, the Republic of Korea and Nigeria. This Prosecutor has not disregarded these situations, but instead is now gathering evidence. Cases are not chosen indiscriminately, but according to the Court’s strict standards of jurisdiction and admissibility.
The ICC aims to end impunity and administer justice for the victims of atrocities. The ICC does not target Africans, but seeks to do justice for African victims by bringing cases against African leaders who commit atrocities. Justice is also the goal in all other situations, including those in Guinea and Georgia, which have local investigations occurring of alleged crimes. The Prosecutor continues to monitor these investigations. The ICC’s treaty requires the Court to defer to the national proceedings- unless there is no functioning judicial system or the national proceedings are intended to shield a suspect from prosecution.
Finally, the Prosecutor did not in fact “avoid” Iraq, Palestine, and Venezuela, but determined, after preliminary examinations, that he could not proceed with a formal investigation based on the available evidence and facts of the case. However, the Rome Statute also allows for a review of a situation if new facts or evidence are introduced.
American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court