The Tswana government is now the first African government to officially reaffirm its support for ICC amidst the recent withdrawals by various African countries from the organization.
On Wednesday, a statement circulating social media showed that the southern African country ‘regrets’ South Africa’s decision to leave the international tribunal.
“While Botswana fully respects the sovereign right of any country to become a party to, or to withdraw from any international instrument, the Government of Botswana nonetheless regrets that the Government of South Africa reached this decision,” part of the statement read.
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On Friday South Africa declared its official exit from the Hague-based court. Prior to this, Burundi had also declared to leave the ICC. Like a Domino effect, Gabon on Tuesday announced that it would be leaving the ICC as well, accusing the organization of “humiliating Africans”.
However, Botswana broke the chain by maintaining its support for ICC.
“Botswana is convinced that as the only permanent international criminal tribunal, the ICC is an important unique institution in the international criminal justice system. Botswana therefore wishes to reaffirm its membership of the Rome statute and reiterate its support for a strong international criminal justice system through the ICC,” the statement said. See the full statement below.
Following South Africa and Burundi’s announcement of their retreat, Senegal’s minister of justice‚ Sadiki Kaba‚ who is the president of the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties‚ urged the two countries to reconsider their decisions. He said their decisions will serve to weaken “the only permanent international criminal court in charge of prosecuting the most serious crimes that shock the conscience of humanity‚ namely genocide‚ war crimes‚ crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.”
On the contrary, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni appraised their decision, calling the ICC “useless” while he was in Zambia to celebrate the country’s Independence anniversary.
It would not be the first time President Museveni has insulted the ICC. During his swearing-in as the President of Uganda, he called them a “bunch of useless people” causing US and some UK diplomats who were present at the ceremony to walk out.