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Black Agenda Report

African Union Says 'Up Yours' to International Criminal Court

The African Union found the spine to reject execution of an arrest warrant against Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi issued by the International Criminal Court, which appears to have an “Africans only” indictment policy. The AU’s chairman calls the court’s prosecutions “discriminatory” because they ignore the West’s crimes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. China has hosted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, another ICC arrest target.

The African Union is asking all of its 53 members not to buckle under to the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The International Criminal Court, or ICC, has never indicted anyone but Africans, and many consider it to be a tool of the United States. The Obama administration gives constant lip service to the Court, even though the U.S. is not a member of the ICC and has refused to make its own policies and military answerable to any outside authority.

The African Union, meeting in Equatorial Guinea, said the ICC indictment against Gaddafi for alleged “crimes against humanity” complicates the task of bringing about a cease-fire in Libya. Twice, high level African delegations have attempted to forge a cease-fire, that would protect immigrant workers and refugees and allow for humanitarian aid to the civilian population. Both times, the rebels and their American and European backers rejected the African initiative out of hand – a display of western arrogance that was deeply humiliating to the African Union. The insult still stings. Although the African Union can’t do much to stop NATO from bombing an African nation at will, the AU decided, finally, that it can stand up to the International Criminal Court and its attempt to arrest Gaddafi, a former chairman and great benefactor of the African Union.

The current AU chairman, Jean Ping, spoke for many member states when he said that the ICC “was discriminatory” in its prosecutions, and only went after Africans, disregarding crimes committed by the West in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. For that reason, the AU recommended that its members not cooperate with the execution of the warrant against Gaddafi.

Without doubt, the International Criminal Court is as Eurocentric in its view of the world as are the governments in Paris, London and Washington. So is the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, who had the nerve to chastise China for ignoring the ICC indictment against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Bashir has travelled in Africa and the Middle East on state visits, and went to China for high level talks, last week. Navi Pillay, the Human Rights Commissioner, whined that she was disappointed with China for not arresting Bashir – although China, like the United States and Russia, is not a member of the International Criminal Court.

Nevertheless, Pillay showed herself to be a true servant of the West. “The whole world favors” putting Bashir on trial,” said the bureaucrat. Most of the continent of Africa does not want to put Bashir on trial. Isn't Africa part of the world? China does not want to put Bashir on trial. And one out of every five people in the world is Chinese!

Navi Pillay is herself from South Africa, whose president, Jacob Zuma, is trying to engage the Russians in arranging a Libya ceasefire. But Human Rights Commissioner Pillay thinks the whole world revolves around Paris, London and Washington. So does ICC chief prosecutor Luis Morena Ocampo, who wants to deputize the United States military to enforce the criminal court's arrest warrants – regardless of what the African world or the Chinese world or anybody that is not European or American thinks. It's sad to say, but at this point in history, the UN serves the Empire.

Glen Ford

Glen Ford

Glen Ford is the Executive Editor of the Black Agenda Report. He can be contacted at

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