By G. E. Gorfu
Tigrai Online March 23, 2013
On this sad day that I read the passing of Chinua Achebe, the great author of Things Fall Apart, I also read with dismay of the Congo rebel leader, General Bosco Ntaganda,* who left for The Hague under the custody of the so called: "International Criminal Court officials" for trial for his acts of genocide and ‘crimes against humanity’. Don’t get me wrong. I have no sympathy for the man and know nothing more about his criminal acts except what has been reported in the media. That being said, I feel sad and ashamed to see African leaders being dragged like sheep and goats and herded into a European prison and put on trial. Is Africa still a colony of Europe?
So far, there have been only a couple of European war criminals like Slobodan Milosevic and Ralto Maldic from the wars in Yugoslavia, but by and large, The Hague has become a court for the trial of ‘African’ leaders. What does this say about us Africans? Why do our criminals have to be dragged to The Hague in Europe to be tried and be paraded before the media circus? Don’t we have any justice system worth its salt in Africa? Are there no prisons, prison guards, well trained lawyers, prosecutors, and respectable judges in Africa to take care of these cases and met out fair justice? If there are, why then are these criminals being exported to Europe for trial?
This is an issue the UN and the OAU (Organization of African Unity) should look into seriously and carefully. Africans needs to wake up and take care of their own business at home. Is there a lack of well qualified legal personnel in Africa? Have Things Fallen Apart totally and cannot be rebuilt? Is the only way to resolve this issue by exporting our criminals abroad for judgment?
How much we Ethiopians would have loved to see Rodolfo Graziani, Martial Pietro Badoglio, and all the other Fascist ruffians brought to Addis Ababa and tried and given justice in Ethiopia? But no, without any shame, Italy recently erected a statue and a granite mausoleum engraved with the words: ‘Fatherland’ and ‘Honor’ for that butcher, Graziani. What honor? Was it not defeat and shame that this Fascist ruffian brought to his Fatherland? But it is clear from this and many other observations that the world continues to be operated on a double standard.
This double standard will continue to be the modus operandi until African leaders create their own Hall of Justice in Africa and deal with their own criminals fairly and openly at home. Once Africa demonstrates it is capable of doing that, it can then demand and drag European criminals like Grazziani and others to Addis Ababa and put them on trial.
If indeed there is a lack of qualified legal personnel in Africa The Hague too, needs to seriously look into opening a branch under the auspices of the OAU in Addis Ababa, and proceed with its legal work there. It should simultaneously work towards training African lawyers and judges to take over the job and met out justice fairly and expeditiously. This would be a good way to rebuild the Things that Fell Apart. Otherwise, to drag war criminals like the Congo rebel leader, General Bosco Ntaganda and take them all the way to Europe for trial at The Hague, opens old wounds of Colonial days. It needs to stop. Immediately!