An Urgent Message from Desmond Tutu on the International Criminal Court

An Avaaz Campaign

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the world’s first and only global court to adjudicate crimes against humanity. But leaders of Sudan and Kenya, who have inflicted terror and fear across their countries, are trying to drag Africa out of the ICC, allowing them the freedom to kill, rape, and inspire hatred without consequences.  

I know that together we can change this. But we have to join hands and call on the voices of reason at the African Union (AU) – Nigeria and South Africa – to speak out and ensure that the persecuted are protected by the ICC. Join me by adding your name to the petition now and share it with everyone — when we have hit 1 million our petition will be delivered straight into the AU conference hall where Africa’s leaders are meeting in Addis Ababa.

In my years of work, life and travel, the fight for justice has been a long and arduous one. I have seen the very worst in Darfur and Rwanda, but also the very best with the reconciliation in South Africa. During this journey, I have seen great gains made that protect the weak from the strong and give us all hope. The ICC is one of these beacons of hope.

English: International Criminal Court (ICC) logo

English: International Criminal Court (ICC) logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This threat to the ICC started precisely because the court was doing its job. It charged Kenya’s Deputy President for killing people who rallied against him during an election and Sudan’s President for murdering women and children in Darfur. Now Kenya and Sudan are lobbying all of Africa to pull out of the court and destroy its chance of success.

But in Darfur, Congo, Cote D’Ivoire and Kenya, the ICC has played a key role in bringing hope to those terrified by the armies, militias and madmen that have waged war against the innocent. It’s a light in the darkness that cannot be allowed to go out.

The main argument by some leaders with a guilty conscience is that the ICC is a Western witch-hunt as most of the investigations have happened in Africa. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. This was an institution that was created by 20 African countries, 5 of the court’s 18 judges are African and the chief prosecutor is African.

Friday is a key judgement day. 
Will our African leaders stand on the side of justice or injustice? With survivors and fallen victims or with tyrants and oppressors? This is the moment to choose. Join me in calling on African leaders to stand on the side of justice and support the International Criminal Court. I’ve seen some of the brightest moments in human history, moments where we together brought hope to so many. This is our chance to do that again, together.

With hope and appreciation for this community,

Desmond Tutu  Desmond Tutu

Further information:

Botswana Supports International Criminal Court (Voice of America)

130 Groups Across Africa Call for Countries to Back ICC (Human Rights Watch)

Kenya pushing for African split from International Criminal Court (Irish Times)

Annan defends International Criminal Court (News 24)

Africa to debate ICC role amid growing opposition (Yahoo News)

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