Article 19 Regional Director Fatou Jagne Senghore has described the recent move taken by Gambia govt to pull out from the International Criminal Court (ICC) as an ‘attempt to entrench impunity’.

“The withdrawal of the Gambia from the ICC is a shock. It buttresses further the lack of political will to allow people affected by gross human rights abuses and atrocities to seek remedies in the future,” she told this reporter during an exclusive interview.

Gambia announced last month its decision to quit the Hague-based court, joining South Africa and Burundi that have confirmed their intention to leave an organisation committed to promote the ideal of justice without borders.

Fatou Jagne Senghore raised concerns about Gambia’s ICC exit and said it does not augur well for victims of human rights violations. “The current judicial system is flawed and does not accord due process to aggrieved people,” she stated.

Commenting on the withdrawal of certain african countries like South Africa and Burundi, Article 19 West Africa Director decried the move and  expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which it was done.

“It shows a disregard to other institutions and the rights of their own citizens.Withdrawing from a major treaty that caters for human rights is a serious matter.”

She stressed the need to scale up efforts to stop what she called as plans to create vacuum.

In spite of the prevailing pessimism about possibility of legal redress at international level,  Fatou Jagne Senghore seized the opportunity to remind African countries opting out of ICC that we live in a digital era.

“Most of the crimes committed in today’s world are documented in real time thanks to technology and the courage of victims. The quest for justice will not be stopped by such moves,” she said.

The tiny West African nation has been in the spotlight for its poor human rights record. In recent weeks, activists have expressed grave concerns over a pre electoral climate that has claimed the life of two opposition activists and led dozens of UDP supporters to jail. As the Dec. Presidential is getting closer, calls for reason to prevail have intensified.

Written by Abdoulie JOHN

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