The relatively high number of cases pursued by the International Criminal Court in Africa is questioned by Euronews viewer Joseph, in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He asks: “Why does the ICC seem to focus only on African issues? What about the crimes committed, for example in Syria or the Palestinian territories?”
Fadi El Abdallah, spokesperson for the International Criminal Court:
responds: “It’s the African states that have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes allegedly committed on their territory. They are the overwhelming majority of investigations that the ICC has opened. The other way is through referral to the Security Council (of the UN). And the Court was also approached in this way about African States.
Work of ICC
“The ICC itself has jurisdiction in states that have ratified the Rome Statute and on that basis the ICC also led the so-called preliminary examinations in several other countries including Palestine, Georgia, Honduras, Colombia and so on. Regarding Syria, Syria is not a state that has ratified the Rome Statute. Its government did not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC and the Security Council (UN) has not asked the ICC to investigate and has not asked the Syrian government to cooperate with the ICC.
“With regard to Palestine, the issue is different because the Palestinian government agreed that the ICC has jurisdiction over the Palestinian territory and has also ratified the Rome Statute. The ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has opened a preliminary investigation, which is a sort of preliminary analysis that will determine if there is a reasonable basis to open an investigation or not. “