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Africa is a nation of impunity: ICJ Judge Sebutinde
December 02, 2013
this article on the Radio VOP website
A judge of the International
Court of Justice (ICJ) Justice Julia Sebutinde says Africa is responsible
for all the continent’s cases referred to the International
Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague against dictators and alleged
perpetrators of violence and she did not understand the outcries
and accusations against Western countries amidst calls for a pullout
from the ICC.
“When you open
floodgates of violence you must be prepared to face the consequences”
said Justice Sebutinde on Friday at a conference dubbed “The
Hague: legal capital of the world” organised by the Royal
Netherlands embassy in Zimbabwe to discuss how international laws
can be effectively domesticated into statutes of different countries.
Zimbabwe is not yet a member of both the ICJ and ICC. It also has
not yet ratified the international convention against torture.
“The African media
should carry out its own investigations and empower people by giving
everyone both sides of the coin. The continent should field and
rely on its own lawyers and not hire Westerners who they end up
blaming. But I don’t think pulling out will bring any solution,”
added Sebutinde a Ugandan national. She advised that Africa should
insist on its own quotas and use the African Union (AU) in order
to bring change from within the international bodies.
the same conference Justice Moses Chinhengo a former High Court
judge in Zimbabwe and judge of the Botswana High Court said, “Zimbabwe
is a little Netherlands with regard to our new constitution
which in Section 12 clearly states the upholding of national interest,
international law, enjoyment of co-existence and the need to solve
international disputes through peaceful means.”
Justice Chinhengo, who
was part of the constitution drafters said international customary
law is part of the law of Zimbabwe unless it is inconsistent with
the supreme law of the land. He stated that judges are now explicitly
compelled to keep abreast with both domestic and international law.
In her address, the permanent
secretary in the ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
Virginia Mabiza said the government has set up an inter ministerial
committee on human rights which has prepared a number of instruments.
However, the need for ratification of international treaties has
increased in the light of globalisation and terrorist threats. Mabiza,
in a speech read on her behalf by Mabel Msika a director of policy
and research in her ministry said staff promotions, transfers and
involvement of different ministries often affected capacity and
continuity, resulting in lack of progress.
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