Gambia’s new government has informed the United Nations that it will remain party to the Rome Statute and member of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the International Criminal Court (ICC), reversing the previous administration’s plan to withdraw from the Court.
Former president Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in a coup in 1994, announced in October 2016 that he would pull Gambia out of the ICC, accusing the International Community of ignoring alleged war crimes of Western nations and seeking only to prosecute African States.
‘As a new government that has committed itself to the promotion of human rights […] we reaffirm The Gambia’s commitment to the principles enshrined in the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court,’ said Adama Barrow the current president of The Gambia.
A formal letter announcing their wish to rescind the decision was sent to UN Secretary-General Antonia Guterres, on the 10th of January 2017.
The new government has committed itself to the pursuit of human rights and the rule of law, as well as the promotion of good governance and democracy. As Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe stated, “we reaffirm The Gambia’s commitment to the principles enshrined in the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court. This action is in line with our vision of a new democratic Gambia.”
This turn of events comes as a small victory to the recent spat between African States and the ICC. With Burundi and South Africa currently going ahead with their withdrawals from the Rome Statute announced last October, and the African Union endorsing an ICC ‘Withdrawal Strategy Document’ last month.
In another sign of Adama Barrow’s intention to break with his predecessor, Gambian police opened their first investigations on Monday the 13th of February into unresolved deaths and disappearances under former president Yahya Jammeh.
(Source: Reuters Africa)