As AU leaders adopt strategy to quit ICC, Gambia’s Barrow insists on staying

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Gambia’s President Adama Barow insists his country will remain a signatory to the Rome Statue that established the International Criminal Court. He also announced that The Gambia will return as a member of the Commonwealth countries.

He made the declaration on Monday during a meeting with foreign diplomats in The Gambia.

The move is contradicting a recently non-binding strategy adopted at the recently concluded African Union Summit in which African leader called for a collective withdrawal from the war crimes court. It was the latest expression of impatience by African leaders with the ICC, which they say focused too narrowly on Africa while pursuing cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Late last year, South Africa, Burundi and The Gambia have all placed letters of intent with the UN secretary general to leave the court, leading to concerns that other states would follow.

Since been elected president, Barrow has been praising the International Criminal Court as an institution that stands for rule of law and good governance. He once said “We came to power on promises of good governance, rule of law and democracy and that is what ICC advocates… I don’t think we should pull out of ICC,” he said.

However, Barrow told told diplomats in Banjul on Monday that Gambia will be part of all international organizations and respect all protocols because these are partners and Gambia cannot be isolation.

“If we are isolated it will be very difficult for us to develop this country. We are calling on all bodies, the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), European Union (EU) etc to support this young democracy” he said.

According to him, if his government is talking about reforms, it will include all aspects ranging from the judiciary, civil service, security, agriculture etc. He said the inherited government system is seriously polluted and needs serious reforms which definitely require support from everybody, every country and every international organizations so that the Gambia can be develop.

He said during the last 22 years of the APRC rule, things were very difficult with the people and many things happened. “Despite a difficult transition period, everything has changed. People made change through the ballot box and everything came to an end” he said.

He thanked the government of Senegal for their hospitality and for hosting him for a period of two-weeks saying they really stood by the Gambia throughout the difficult moment.