The Hague, Netherlands
A delegation of the Pan-African Solidarity Hague Committee from throughout the African Diaspora made a historic trip to The Hague on June 18 to present a legal petition to Fatou Bensouda of Gambia, the newly appointed chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
The petition demanded that the ICC investigate and prosecute the United States, Britain, France, Italy and other NATO countries for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Africa and its Diaspora, committed in violation of international laws. A press conference was held on the steps of the ICC informing the media of the delegation’s mission.
The petition charges these countries with the following crimes: the 2004 U.S.-led overthrow of the duly elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide; the U.S./NATO-led invasion of Libya and the overthrow and assassination of its leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi; sanctions levied on Zimbabwe to punish its president, Robert Mugabe, for returning to the Indigenous people land stolen by white settlers; France’s intervention in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to capture and arrest its president, Laurent Gbagbo; and the institutional racism inflicted upon the Black population of the U.S., specifically in regard to racial profiling, stop-and-frisk and incarceration rates.
At a July 2011 forum in New York City, a campaign had been launched by the December 12th Movement International Secretariat to expose the West’s campaign to recolonize Africa and Africans and to seek peace and justice. This was followed by a successful International Peoples Tribunal, which convened at Columbia University’s School of Law in January 2012.
At that tribunal, evidence of political, economic and military assaults facing Africa and the Diaspora, primarily in Libya, Haiti, Côte d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe and the U.S., was presented in the context of war crimes and violations of international law and the Geneva Convention by the Western powers.
A panel of judges ruled that a prima facie case had been made against the U.S., Britain, France, Canada, Italy, Spain, et al. Specific charges included the coup d’état against President Aristide and the occupation of Haiti; the invasion of Libya and the assassination of Col. Gadhafi; the overthrow of the government of Côte d’Ivoire; and the illegal sanctions against the government and people of Zimbabwe. The tribunal findings were the basis for the petition submitted to the ICC.
Following delivery of the petition, the delegation held an African-American International Conference at Erasmus University’s International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, sponsored by the December 12th Movement, the International Association Against Torture and the university’s International Relations Committee.
The conference addressed the question of the ICC becoming another weapon in the Western countries’ campaign, under imperialist control, to recolonize Africa and African people; the apparent immunity of NATO’s “peacekeepers” for war crimes and other willful violations of international law; and the role played by the media regarding social justice from an African perspective. The matter of the ICC seeming to be about power and politics, not justice, was also discussed. During its 10-year history, the ICC has prosecuted only Africans.
Presenters at the conference included attorney Roger Wareham, international secretary-general for the International Association Against Torture; minister Akbar Muhammad, international affairs specialist of the Nation of Islam; attorney David Comissiong, president of the Barbados Clement Payne Movement; Baffour Ankomah, editor of New African magazine; and attorney Richard Harvey, United Kingdom international law specialist.
While in The Hague, the delegation participated in a large rally held by supporters of President Gbagbo, who had come in busloads from Paris. They expressed concern about whether he was still alive, since his capture and imprisonment in The Hague. That day was the date of Gbagbo’s expected hearing. However, the hearing was postponed until August. They plan to continue their protests and to organize globally.
The December 12th Movement plans a campaign in support of Gbagbo and in defense of the sovereignty of his country. The group will also soon hold a community reportback in New York on the trip to The Hague that will include a discussion of which way forward.
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