Gambia halts ICC withdrawal

Gambia halts ICC withdrawal
2017-02-14
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Donia Al-Watan
Gambia's new administration on Monday reversed course on withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

A press release from the country’s new foreign minister, Ousainou Darboe, said the government has notified UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who is the "depository of the Rome Statute", the treaty that formed the court, of Gambia's decision to "discontinue the withdrawal notice which was started in November 2016”. 

Gambia, a small West African country surrounded by Senegal in all three sides, announced under former President Yahya Jammeh that it would withdraw from the Netherlands-based court, describing the institution as an “International Caucasian Court for the humiliation of the coloured people”.

The transition of power in Gambia was all but disastrous last month as Yammeh declared a 90-day state of emergency days before his tenure would end, preventing Adama Barrow, who was elected last December to replace him, from taking office.

Upon international pressure, especially from neighboring countries, Yammeh agreed to stand down. When Barrow returned from Senegal, where he was sworn in at the embassy, thousands of Gambians welcomed him at capital Banjul's international airport.

Last month, the 34 African members of the ICC, making up one fourth of its membership, have decided to renounce their involvement with the court.

According to U.S.-based Harper's magazine, which used ICC data, 97 percent of people who are charged by the court in The Hague are African. 
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