AGJA welcomes pledge of The Gambia to keep the country a member of the ICC

The Africa Group for Justice and Accountability (AGJA) welcomes the pledge of newly elected  President of The Gambia Adama Barrow to keep the country a member of the International  Criminal Court (ICC). While the AGJA reiterates its respect for the sovereign decision-making  of states to join and withdraw from the ICC, it encourages all states to join the ICC. It is hoped  that The Gambia’s decision to remain in the ICC will dissuade other states from withdrawing  from the Court. 

On 10 November 2016, The Gambia triggered the process of withdrawal from the ICC. It did  so following an executive order issued by President Yahya Jammeh which notified the United  Nations Secretary General of the country’s intentions to withdraw from the Court. At the  time, AGJA member Hassan Bubacar Jallow expressed his “great dismay and disappointment”  at the decision. Jallow, the former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for  Rwanda and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, appealed to the  government of The Gambia and President Jammeh to reconsider its decision. During the  presidential election campaign in The Gambia, Barrow pledged to keep The Gambia a  member of the ICC. Following his victory, President Barrow confirmed his intention to do so. 

The AGJA expresses its support for President Barrow’s commitment to keep The Gambia  within the ICC system and reiterates its view that The Gambia has, and should, continue to  play a leading role in the development of international criminal justice. On behalf of the AGJA,  Jallow declared that “The Gambia’s reversal of course should signal that African member 

states, indeed all member-states, should remain within the ICC and work to make it stronger  from within.” He added that The Gambia’s decision “clearly demonstrates that the  International Criminal Court remains a relevant and impactful institution which enjoys  widespread support on the continent.” 

The Africa Group reiterates its view that concerns held by states regarding the ICC should be  addressed by the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) and notes the important headway made  in achieving respectful dialogue between African states at the ICC at the recent ASP, held  from 16-24 November 2016 in The Hague. 

In line with its Kilimanjaro Principles for Justice and Accountability, the AGJA continues to  offer its expertise, mediation and facilitation to African states, the African Union, the ICC and  all other relevant actors.

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