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ICC is essential for African victimsPublish Date: Dec 18, 2013
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By Douglas Lukoba Iga

There is need to have in place a strong institution that makes it possible to seek justice for victims for human rights violations.

More than 1000 individuals were killed in Kenya’s post –election violence and hundreds of thousands displaced. Kenya’s courts have failed to take steps to prosecute those who allegedly organised or financed this violence. The ICC‘s Trust fund for victims also brings assistance to victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Northern Uganda.

This visionary body came into force on July 1, 2002 with its seat in The Hague. The ICC is governed on three main principles and these include the principle of complementarity, universality and right to fair trial, through these principles, the ICC has managed to bring responsible parties to book for the crimes they committed against humanity and from its trust fund it provides their families with restitution, compensation and rehabilitation, the ICC court determines the scope of the damage, loss and injury to victims and to order the convicted  person to make specific reparations.

From the so many crimes that have been committed against humanity, the court has fulfilled its mandate through the enforcement and realisation of its set goals and this has been evident on bringing to book all forms of human rights degradation by even going an extra mile to try sitting presidents like Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, and these, among others, the former president of Liberia Charles Taylor who was sentenced to a UK jail to serve his sentence. All these efforts by the ICC are a realisation of the UN Charter and the Geneva Convention on human rights and freedoms.

For countries in Africa where courts are manned and controlled by the military regimes, there has been massive interference with the judiciary “rape of the temple of justice” and with the help of an independent body like the ICC, victims of these crimes have been relieved of the burden of chasing after these seemingly stronger “untouchables“when the ICC is readily available to provide an internationally recognized redress.

The writer is a lawyer with -Advocates for Public International Law Uganda (APILU)


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