All African countries must pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and subscribe to an equivalent judicial structure in Africa, Kofi Bentil, vice president of policy think tank IMANI Africa, has suggested.

The African Union (AU) in January 2017 called for a mass withdrawal of member states from the ICC but the decision is not binding on all countries, with Nigeria and Senegal kicking against the suggestion.

South Africa and Burundi have already withdrawn amid the long-held perception across Africa that the ICC has been set-up to witch-hunt Africans while leaders from other continents found guilty of committing similar crimes are let off the hook.

The ICC, which came into force in 2002, was set up to prosecute and bring to justice those responsible for crimes including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Mr Bentil is of the strong belief that the AU “had no business signing up for it (the ICC)” especially when the US refused to commit to it.

“As far as I am concerned, if they did it in the past, then maybe they did it to show good faith; it is time to withdraw from the ICC,” he told Etse Sikanku, on the Friday February 17 edition of World Affairs on Class91.3FM.

He was quick to add that he was “not in favour of any African despot being allowed to go free”, saying: “Africa should deal with them here within an African construct and again that is where the African High Command and its judicial wing should come into play.”

Journalism lecturer and international journalist Esther Armah, who was a guest on the show, was of the same view that Africa needed a functional judicial entity to replace the ICC, which has been a target for only African leaders.

Source: Ghana/