Gambia withdraws from International Criminal Court
Gambia has announced its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, accusing the Hague-based tribunal of "persecution and humiliation of people of colour, especially Africans".
Tuesday's announcement comes after similar decisions earlier this month by South Africa and Burundi to abandon the institution, set up to try the world's worst crimes.
The ICC was set up in 2002 and is often accused of bias against Africa and has also struggled with a lack of cooperation, including from the US, which has signed the court's treaty but never ratified it.
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The court had been used "for the persecution of Africans and especially their leaders" while ignoring crimes committed by the West, Sheriff Bojang, Gambia's information minister, said on state television.
He singled out the case of Tony Blair, former British prime minister, who the ICC decided not to indict over the Iraq war.
"There are many Western countries, at least 30, that have committed heinous war crimes against independent sovereign states and their citizens since the creation of the ICC and not a single Western war criminal has been indicted," Bojang said.
The withdrawal, he said, "is warranted by the fact that the ICC, despite being called International Criminal Court, is in fact an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of colour, especially Africans".
Gambia has been trying, without success, to use the ICC to punish the EU for the deaths of thousands of African refugees and migrants trying to reach its shores.
The decision will also come as a personal blow to the court's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, a former Gambian justice minister.
Burundi had said earlier this month it would leave the court, while Namibia and Kenya have also raised the possibility.