Botswana is not ready to pull out from the International criminal court (ICC) despite calls for Africa to do so by the newly elected Chairperson of the African Union, Robert Mugabe.
The government Spokesperson, Jeff Ramsay says Botswana remains committed to the ICC. Ramsay would not be drawn into reasons why Botswana chose to stick to the current position. Ramsay reaffirmed Botswana’s position in a brief response to this publication’s questionnaire following the alleged announcement by the President of the neighbouring Zimbabwe, Mugabe that his country has joined some of the African states intention to pull out of the ICC which is housed at the Hague, Netherlands.
Media reports suggest that the 90-year old Mugabe in his capacity as the Chairperson of the AU wants the matter to be in the agenda of the next AU summit due to be held in South Africa in June this year and is likely to chair the debate in person.
The calls for Africa to pull out from the ICC gained momentum in June 2009 when several African States including Comoros, Djibouti and Senegal suggested it in protest against the believe that the court targets Africa. Then the Sudan President, Omar al Bashir was being investigated by the ICC for crimes against humanity.
In 2013 Kenya, Uganda and later South Africa joined the fray in protest against ICC’s investigation in Kenya. A mass withdrawal from the ICC by African states was discussed in October 2013 and it was agreed that the sitting Presidents would not be prosecuted and that Kenya case should be deferred as Uhuru Kenyatta was still in office.
Since the summit was heavily divided on the issue of pulling out from the ICC the mass withdrawal proposal was not endorsed and Mugabe hopes to settle the matter as swiftly as he could during his reign as the chairperson of the AU and has even signed the Malabo Protocol which would form the African court of Justice and Human rights. If successful, the court would be funded by the AU.
However as some African countries pledge commitment to the Malabo protocol, other African countries including Botswana are being more cautious over the initiative and have not signed the treaty. This is because the AU is still obviously divided over the IC with East Africa leaders facing strong resistance from West and Sub Saharan Africa counterparts in this campaign.
The ICC The Rome Statute which forms the ICC allows for states to withdraw from the court. Withdrawal takes effect one year after notification of the depositary, and has no effect on prosecution that has already started. Information retrieved from the ICC website suggests that as of now no state had withdrawn from the statute as yet.
The Rome Statute is a treaty that establishes the ICC an international court that has jurisdiction over certain international crimes including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes that are commonly committed by nationals of state members or within the territory of such countries. The country members are legally obligated to co-operate with the court when it requires such as in arresting and transferring indicted persons or providing access t o evidence and witnesses.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.