Kofi Annan has never been one to shy away from speaking his mind on politics and governance issues on the continent, and recently in another tongue-lash the former United Nations (UN) secretary general scoffed at accusations against the International Criminal Court (ICC), that the court targets African leaders.
In an interview with the Financial Times (FT), Annan weighed in on the debate and argued that African leaders should quit playing the victim, considering that political figures such as Slobodan Milosevic and others were tried for war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.
Milosevic was indicted in May 1999, by the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for crimes against humanity in Kosovo and tried in The Hague before the ICC came into force in 2002.
Annan reportedly said African leaders “shouldn’t pretend that they were the first” or that the process is biased and recommended that if Africans and others cannot get justice in their domestic courts they should seek it abroad.
The court has been criticised in the past for targeting Africans and various countries have threatened to pull out of the ICC, owing to its perceived “racist,” “partisan” and skewed “prosecutorial strategy” targeting Africans. Recently, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta made a formal request to members of the country’s legislature to approve laws to pull Kenya out of the ICC.
Annan’s comments have divided opinion on social media, with strong arguments that the ICC does indeed target Africans, while a sizeable number of social media users argue that the court is relevant and essential against the backdrop of impunity and weak domestic judicial mechanisms.
Annan has never been one to shy away from speaking his mind on pertinent issues on the continent. The former UN secretary general recently called on African leaders to leave office after serving their mandated constitutional terms. Annan warned that while the number of coups have reduced, some leaders are “creating situations which may bring them back,” by clinging on and staying on for too long.
Social media reactions to Annan’s ICC comments and perceptions on the ICC
International community system will continue putting checks and balances on the rogue gov't Kenya included #SomeOneTellKofiAnnan
— Ike Kenneth (@IkeOjuok) June 21, 2016
The ICC is biased. I kind look at it as another tool for the West that it used to humiliate African leaders.
— Joel N. K. Gashagaza (@beauideal92) June 18, 2016
ICC stands to persecute leaders frm Asia,South America n Africa non of those North America,Europe n Australia have being sentenced that much
— Joshua Neo Moyo (@Neo19810922) June 22, 2016
U shd be talking about an exit strategy from ICC imperialism and bondage. That racist and partisan institution is NOT sustainable.
— Charles Kambanda (@charleskambanda) June 20, 2016
africa needs the ICC now more than ever.with the kind of leadership africa has it is sad to know where africa will be withoutit
— Not boarding huduma number (@IamRobBoss) June 21, 2016