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Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 22:30

Gambia is 3rd African nation leaving ICC

By Agencies

Gambia is 3rd African nation leaving ICC
In this Sept 25, 2014, file photo, Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

DAKAR, Senegal — Gambia has become the third African nation to say it will leave the International Criminal Court, deepening fears of a mass pullout from the body that pursues some of the world's worst atrocities.

In announcing the decision Tuesday night on national television, Gambia accused the court of unfairly targeting Africa and calling it the "International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans."

China has called on the ICC to exercise its functions prudently in accordance with law

The move comes after South Africa, once a strong ICC supporter under former President Nelson Mandela, notified the United Nations secretary-general last week that it would leave the court. Burundi's president last week signed legislation to leave the court as well.

The Hague-based tribunal is involved in "the persecution of Africans, and especially their leaders" while ignoring crimes committed by the West, according to Gambia's Information Minister Sheriff Baba Bojang.

Only Africans have been charged in the six ICC cases that are ongoing or about to begin, though preliminary ICC investigations have been opened elsewhere in the world.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday that China respects some African countries' decisions to leave the International Criminal Court and understands their long-standing concerns with the court.

Spokesperson Lu Kang's remarks came after Gambia announced its withdrawal from the ICC on Tuesday, for the court's "unfairly targeting Africa," following similar decisions by South Africa and Burundi.

While supporting efforts made by the international community to bring perpetrators to justice, China also believes that the ICC should strictly abide by the principle of supplementary jurisdiction, and seriously respect the international law principles about national sovereignty and exemption, Lu said.

He called on the ICC to exercise its functions prudently in accordance with law, and win confidence and respect from the international community with objective and justified rulings

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