Gambian ICC Prosecutor tells African Commission "nobody cares for the Darfurians, they have no oil"
From Foroyaa.gm (Gambia) by Fabakary B. Ceesay on 20 May 2009:
Gambian ICC Prosecutor Addresses African Commission
Madam Fatoumatta Bensouda, a Deputy Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Gambian national, on Friday 15th, addressed the African Commission on Human and People’s Right (ACHPR) on the theme, “A Global System of Justice for the Victims of the most serious crimes”.A few of the many reports on Oil and Darfur from Sudan Watch archives:
In her deliberation, Madam Bensouda, first, said that, the most important beneficiaries of their work are the victims of gross human rights violations. She cited the Rome Statute that contains new fundamental provisions concerning victims of the most unimaginable atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity. She said those crimes are so serious that they are of concern to the international community as a whole.
Deputy ICC prosecutor Bensouda said the purpose of the ICC is to put an end to these crimes and, as such, to bring justice through accountability to ensure redress for the victims and the affected populations. Other goals, she added, include the contribution to the prevention of such crimes and the victimization of other generations and communities.
“This is especially true for Africans. As you know, the Court has opened investigations into four situations, all within the African continent. Contrary to what some critics might say, this is not the sign of some sort of “Western bias” from the Court. In fact, as a Deputy Prosecutor, and as an African Woman, I am dismayed by suggestions that this Court is targeting Africans”, said Deputy Prosecutor Bensouda.
She noted the crucial role played by African countries in the negotiation of the Rome Statute of the Court, adding that the result of that process was a comprehensive treaty establishing the first Permanent International Criminal Court.
The Deputy Prosecutor said that Africa is the single largest region represented in the Assembly of State parties to the Rome Statute; that there are more African States membership to the Rome Statute than there are African States membership to the African Union (AU). She said the court will continue to work consistently for and with the victims and that it will do so following the evidence and the horrific trail of massive crimes.
Madam Bensouda listed the four Africans who have been indicted by the ICC, namely Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of DR Congo, Joseph Kony of Uganda, President Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan and Ahmed Harun, a Janjaweed leader in Darfur, Sudan. According to her, Lubanga is facing war crimes for having victimized thousands and thousands of children, boys and girls, turning them into killers, looters, sexual slavers; Kony and the other leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Northern Uganda, are indicted for using thousands of young children to kill their own families and destroy their own communities; that President Omar Al Bashir is indicted for the extermination of 2.5 million Africans in Darfur and Harun is facing war crimes for attacking his victims in camps on the orders of President Bashir with the help of the State apparatus to facilitate the criminal plans he (Harun) had for Darfur,.. Bensouda added that today in Darfur, a man is indicted by the ICC for attacking his victims in camps on orders of president Bashir with the command of the state apparatus to help and facilitate the criminal plans Ahmed Harun has for Darfur.
ICC Deputy Prosecutor told the session that due to the lack of execution of these pending arrest warrants, the LRA continues to commit horrible crimes upon a whole new generation of victims in Southern Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR) and the DRC. “This not acceptable,” she said.
She continued, “We are working for the African victims. Nobody cares for the Darfurians. They have no oil. Everything they had that was of value to them, their land, their homes, their crops, their families, has been taken from them by the government. Africans are tired of double standards. So are we. The ICC is a solution. It is based on only one standing, applicable to all, the law.”
Madam Bensouda said ‘the ICC is a fantastic new tool, a judicial tool, not a tool in the hands of politicians who think they can decide when to plug or unplug them.’
She underscored the need for a united voice of the international community to play its part in the enforcement of the court’s decisions with a louder voice.
“The law is not just for legal advisor, prosecutors and defence counsels. The law also applies to political leaders, military and negotiators. This is where the biggest challenges lie for the Rome system,” concluded Madam Bensouda.
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