By Eliaser Ndeyanale
INTERNATIONAL Relations and Cooperation Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, has reiterated that Namibia does not need to remain part of the International Criminal Court (ICC), because the country is more than capable of handling its own affairs.
She added that Namibia joined the ICC at a time when it’s legal and governance systems were weak, and needed international instruments to back them up.
Nandi-Ndaitwah comments about the ICC were made in the National Assembly recently, where she was responding to questions raised during the debate on her ministry’s budget.
The ongoing debate around withdrawal from the ICC has divided the African continent, whose leaders have accused the international tribunal, which sits in The Hague, of the selective application of justice.
African leaders have mainly been targeted by the ICC for prosecution.
Equally, criticism has emerged from some sectors, who claim that African leaders want to withdraw from the ICC, because they prefer to rule with impunity.
“We joined ICC immediately after independence, because we were entering in a situation we didn’t know,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said in parliament last week.
“Namibians, we must have confidence and trust in ourselves. The United States is not part of the ICC, because it said from the onset that it was capable of handling its own issues,” she said.
Nandi-Ndaitwah also repeated the commonly-held belief that the international justice body is only targeting African leaders.
She said the African Union (AU) is currently discussing the withdrawal of its countries from the ICC.
The AU is also deliberating on whether the ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for genocide, war crime and crimes against humanity.
Last year, President Hage Geingob told international news agency, Reuters, that Namibia would remain a member of the ICC, if the United States joined.
While parliament still needs to debate Namibia’s withdrawal, Geingob said his feeling was that the country would go ahead with plans to exit the ICC.
The United States is not currently a member of the ICC, as it has not signed or ratified the Rome Statute, a treaty which serves as the organisation’s governing document.
“Africa needs to develop its own processes, systems, courts and institutions,” Geingob added at the time.
“It would help us to be self-sufficient. We must build lasting institutions… not something imposed from foreign countries.”
In October last year‚ South Africa’s Justice Minister, Michael Masutha, announced that his country had initiated the process of withdrawing from the ICC.
The decision followed several court judgments, which found that the South African government had the violated the law, by not arresting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir‚ during his visit to the neighbouring country in June 2015
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015