Nowhere to hide for despots

If the news coming through from the International Criminal Court in the Hague is true, then we are in for very interesting times.

If the news coming through from the International Criminal Court in the Hague is true, then we are in for very interesting times.

When ICC senior prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo applied to the court to have Omar al-Bashir indicted, the matter was never taken lightly by the world community. Some castigated the senior prosecutor as someone who had a political vendetta against the Sudanese. Others viewed him as a man of honour doing his job diligently.

When the decision to seek the prosecution of al-Bashir was made, I was in a meeting with human rights activists in Kampala, Uganda. For a strange reason divisions began to emerge within the human rights community about the best way to resolve the genocide that had claimed more than 250000 lives and displaced 2,5million people. The debate centred on whether we should support the supremacy of justice or political expediency in resolving the conflict.

Moreno-Ocampo has set a precedent and it seems the ICC concurs with him. If that is so, then we have reason to celebrate. Never again will leaders hide behind diplomatic immunity to commit crimes against humanity.

All the despots that have committed genocide, ecocide and ethnic cleansing must be living in fear of being next to be indicted.

Let us all unite behind the decision of the ICC and press charges against all those who have committed similar crimes elsewhere. The courts have a responsibility to all.

Major Kobese, Braamfontein

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