Gambia’s ICC Withdrawal: A Drastic Blow To Countless Victims Globally

Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Africa
Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for Africa/Google Photo!

Following the announcement yesterday by the Gambian Information Minister that Gambia has withdrawn from the International Criminal Court (ICC), Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for Africa said:

“The announcement is a blow to millions of victims around the world, particularly coming as it does on the heels of recent moves by South Africa and Burundi to also withdraw from the ICC”.

“Rather than joining this drastic march away from justice, other African states should follow the lead of Botswana and many concerned African member states which have encouraged countries to work constructively with the Court to resolve any legitimate issues.”

“The Information Minister’s statement regarding the Court’s persecution and humiliation of people of colour, especially Africans could not be further from the truth. For many Africans the ICC presents the only avenue for justice for the crimes they have suffered”.

“Gambia’s announcement is particularly shocking given that the ICC’s Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, is herself Gambian and a champion of international justice and the fight against global impunity.”


It is however unclear at present whether or not the Gambian government has taken steps towards a formal withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the ICC. Withdrawal would not take effect for one year following any formal notification to the United Nations, and Gambia cannot avoid its current responsibilities under international law by withdrawing from the Statute.

Gambia has failed to cooperate with African regional judicial mechanisms. It has refused to implement three binding decisions by the ECOWAS Court of Justice regarding the torture, murder and disappearance of journalists, and it has repeatedly failed to cooperate with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which is based in Banjul and sitting now.

Issued by Amnesty International



  1. As far as I am concerned, this is all a déjà vu; it sets the scene and seals the plot on what is to come in the coming weeks and months in The Gambia, if the world fails to act. Earlier this year when Jammeh opposed the idea of sending AU troops to Burundi, it was not based on any coherent Foreign Policy but rather a pre-empt for what he planned to do in The Gambia as elections approached, which might draw the attention of the AU. Shortly after that came the April disturbances involving Jammeh’s security forces and unarmed civilians. That was just a test to see local and global reactions. Now that Jammeh is convinced that the reactions will be limited to mere words, he has readied his terror machine for the ultimate action. His Service chiefs have been going round the country and to Military barracks sending thinly veiled threats as to what they intend to do come December 2016. Sadly though, some Gambians are gleefully watching and waiting to see it happen because in their twisted logic, it is a war against only one tribe, so why bother?. The Gambian hypocrisy knows no bounds.

  2. I think your assestment of Jammeh regime’s past and present, and your foresights into the country’s near future in all a paragrah, is one of the most pertinent, @JC.
    Jammeh knows better what will happen. He is well aware of every seed he sowed in the Gambia. War is well on his menu of fantasies. Why?, when? and how he wants to start a war are questions for Gambians to puzzle out with their intellects and prudence.
    I think it is true that he carried out tests and found out that Gambians will have to free themselves from his clamps all by themselves without the interferance of an international community. Some who might not be his enablers but are confused by the despicable predicament of the country are those who refer to online opposition-to the regime, as ‘warmongers’. It is perhaps true such accusers have strayed even worst for being over obsessed with cultural and traditional myths or in other words, ethnicity. Educated people of ethnic groups have either felt a minority inferiority complex, or literally accused others of feeling a majority superiority complex, accusations that don’t hold water. This is how bloodchilling the smiling coast is now for it’s NO PROBLEM people.

  3. This is not a suprise to many who know and have been closely watching the erratic behavior of Yaya jammeh. Yaya Jammeh will most likely withdraw The Gambia From ECOWAS after the December 1st election. My speculation is simply based on the assumption that there will disputed elections result which could lead to calls from international community including ECOWAS , encouraging Jameh to form a government of national unity or even step down. Yaya Jammeh will be furious and withdraw Gambia from ECOWAS . Gambians are dealing with a heartless and evil human being who will do anything to stay in power . We must remember Yaya Jammeh is still a young adult who can continue to rule Gambia for next 20 years if we fail to take every measures or methods to get rid of him . These measures must include the use of highly sophisticated and well trained sniper, use beautiful young girls or use of IED( improvised explosive device). Despite the coalition efforts are in process , all options must still be on the table to get rid of him . Jammeh and his militia men will continue to intimidate , threaten and harass Gambians during this elections season . The only language this son of bitch knows is his own language.

  4. Why is Toni Blair and Bush not prosecuted by the ICC. We all know they committed war crimes all over the world.

    Why is the USA not a signatory to the ICC if they truly believe in justice for all.

    Black people, we need to wake up from our slumber.

    I am not a fan of Jammeh. But why white people are always right and black people are wrong. FGM is wrong. Marrying two wives is wrong.

    They told us learning is better than silver and gold. They stole everything and did not give us education. Who the he’ll are these people to determine our fate.

    • Blair and Bush were democratically incumbent in office in their respective countries that’s why they can do a lot in the world of politics and go away with it. It is the Americans and Britons free and fair votes that gave them powers to manipulate such international affairs.
      Saddam, Jammeh and other dictators alike on the other hand, think that citizens opposed to their autocratic misrules, in their own countries, are merely representing a western presence and politics in African countries and elsewhere even though such dictators wives could be spending most of their luxurious times in countries like that of Bush’s and Blair’s. What a hypocrite the misrulers in Africa are. If anyone want to master the art of hypocrisy, you don’t have to travel far to anywhere to acquire it. Just read after the actions and words of the ditators in Africa. Their mouths are the universities of hyporisy where you can major in subjects like GLUTTONY, LYING and SYCOPHANCY.

    • The so called whites are just another race of human beings who went through many historical and political stages over time, to be of nations of peoples who know very well how to administrate their publics’ spaces, to be able to make available environments that have prevailed in being the greatest happiness of the greatest number of their nations, for those nations to be destinations for families of anti colonialist and brutal dictators who kill fellow citizens of equal constitutonally entrenched rights for holding different opinions.
      Talking of white people when dictators torture, kill, maim or illegally jail different opinion holding citizens of the same colour is nothing but shameless hypocrisy and a demonstration of one lack of intelligence and self-integrity.