Amnesty International blasted the decision as “a backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights.”
Between 1960 and 2004, sub-Saharan Africa witnessed 26 wars, nearly 200 attempted coups, 80 violent or unconstitutional changes of government, half of all presidents overthrown, 25 heads of government killed. Are today’s leaders so clean they can grant themselves immunity from prosecution? Al-Bashir, the genocidalist Sudanese president, who still reigns after 25 years. Mugabe, still a menace to Zimbabweans after 34. Kenya’s Kenyatta, wanted by the International Criminal Court. The leaders of the world’s newest state, South Sudan, fomenting ethnic violence. The men responsible for the conflicts in Congo, Nigeria, Mali, Central African Republic, Somalia. The men who unforgivably denied the reality of HIV and AIDS.
Such men are, no doubt, righteously outraged that the International Criminal Court feels more like the African Criminal Court, that the likes of George W. Bush and Tony Blair are forever immune from punishment for their palpable crimes. But should Africa’s leaders then seek their own immunity?