Friday, March 23, 2012

Pan Africanists and the International Criminal Court: What lessons for the future of peace and justice?

The recent news of the prayer meetings being held across Kenya by aspiring presidential candidates and the genocidal language being used in these political rallies are so morally repulsive that decent human beings in all parts of the world must pay attention. If abusing the idea of prayer and spiritual reflection was not bad enough, the inflammatory language is coming from individuals who have been ordered to stand trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity. These charges stem from the crimes committed against the peoples of Kenya after the 2007 elections and fraud when more than 1,100 people are believed to have been killed in organised attacks and more than 300,000 were driven from their homes or fled in the violence.

The violence in Kenya was only one manifestation of the wider economic terrorism against the people committed by a cabal that has been associated with numerous forms of primitive accumulation since the peoples of Kenya fought for their independence. There is a ‘mafia-like cartel’ that has become rich in Kenya and these forces see themselves as above the law. Numerous reports exist on the relationship between fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking, violence, phony pharmaceutical products and a deformed financial sector. Kenyans are conscious of these crimes and the struggles against impunity reached a high point in 2010 when Kenyans ratified a new constitution. Kenyans understood that there must be an end to impunity and that the Kenyan judicial system had to be cleaned up in order to shut down the cartel of accumulators who use violence to stay in power. These Kenyans who want peace and social justice must be supported by progressive Pan Africanists everywhere.

That the judicial system in Africa and the African Union has been unable to prosecute those who carry out crimes against humanity is one of the weaknesses of the AU at this historical moment; but, as I will argue this week, Pan Africanists ought to be at the forefront at the prosecution of crimes against humanity. Pan Africanists from the grassroots cannot await the legal processes of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to organize against criminality and genocide in Africa. Justifiably, there are voices in Africa who have pointed out how the ICC has been used against Africa at present. I will maintain in this contribution that peace and justice activists must take the lead to ensure that those who commit genocidal violence and crimes against humanity must be tried in the court of public opinion and isolated in every way. In this way all of the resources available within the Pan African Movement must be deployed to ensure that the members of criminal syndicates involved in drug running, gun running and money laundering cannot use these resources to corrupt the political processes. I will argue that the form and content of the discussions of Pan Africanists and the International Criminal Court cannot distract peace and social justice forces from the need to develop networks of peace, justice and social solidarity. Read more