The western African nation of The Gambia announced on Tuesday that it plans to leave the International Criminal Court, just days after South Africa notified the ICC in The Hague of its own intention to withdraw.
In a televised statement, The Gambia’s Minister of Information, Communications and Infrastructure announced the decision to leave was rooted in racial injustice and the unfair treatment of Africans.
“This action is warranted by the fact that the ICC, despite being called the International Court, is in fact an International Caucasian Court,” the minister, Sheriff Bojang, said.
It targets and humiliates people of color, especially Africans, and holds guiltless the leaders of at least 30 nations also guilty of war crimes, he added, specifically naming former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his role in the Iraq war.
Nine of the 10 cases pursued by the ICC since its inception in 2002 involved Africans, a point noted by others considering withdrawal from the Rome Statute treaty on which ICC authority is based. The African Union asked its member nations earlier this year to re-examine their relationships with the ICC.
“Other African Union member states have accused the ICC of unfairness in servicing its mandate. They claim the court is targeting African states over other members,” the South African government noted in its statement. The nations listed in South Africa’s explanation included: Kenya, Ivory Coast, Libya, Sudan, DRC, Central African Republic, Uganda and Mali.
Bojang echoed the complaint, adding that The Gambia has asked the court to investigate Mediterranean Sea deaths involving African migrants to no avail, a fact he cited as further evidence of European racism and injustice.
The move comes as President Yahya Jammeh seeks re-election in December. Jammeh has been in power since a 1994 coup, and continues a pattern of human rights violations that target political opponents, journalists and dissenting voices that is widely condemned by NGOs and other governments.
Image: Gainako News, YouTube