Farai Kuvirimirwa Herald Reporter
The International Criminal Court is an agent of neo-colonialism being manipulated to keep African countries compliant to the dictates of the West and its allies, a Zimbabwean lawyer based at the The Hague has said. Advocate Silas Chekera, who represented former Liberian president Charles Taylor and Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto at the court in The Hague, said this yesterday at the ICC, International and Regional Perspectives workshop that was hosted by the Netherlands Embassy in partnership with the Legal Resources Foundation in Harare.

Taylor was eventually sentenced to 50 years in prison for war crimes in 2012. Adv Chekera said the court was a political tool manipulated by permanent members in the UN Security Council and non-signatories to the Rome Statute whose agenda was to selectively destabilise leadership in African countries and abuse resources endowed in them.

“There are 34 African states out of 122 states who are signatories to the ICC and non-signatory countries such as the United States of America and Britain dictate how affairs are conducted,” said Adv Chekera.

“Foreign funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in African countries go to the ICC and present adverse information which they would have gathered. The process is very selective as evidenced by 24 cases created out of eight situations in Africa.”

Adv Chekera said there was rampant malpractice at the ICC where judges advise the prosecutor on what evidence to bring so that they jail Africans and their leaders.  ICC head of the jurisdiction, complementarity and co-operation division Mr Phakiso Mochochoko said the court was established after the genocide in Yugoslavia and Rwanda and big countries such as the United States and Britain did not want its establishment.

“African states whose members are being prosecuted were on the forefront of establishing the ICC and voluntarily signed the statute,” he said.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Deputy Minister Fortune Chasi said Zimbabwe as a sovereign country could not have a court in a foreign land to prosecute its nationals and reverse programmes such as the land reform. Netherlands Ambassador Ms Gera Sneller, advocates, lawyers, representatives from the Italian embassy, among other members of the diplomatic corps, attended the discussion.

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