Crimes Against Humanity

 “The Hole of Humanity” by John Hemmen

 

 

 

 

 

Sharpville

Sharpville, South Africa

On the 21st of March 1960, 69 black South Africans were shot dead in Sharpville, a town in the then Transvaal in South Africa, for staging a peaceful protest against the apartheid government. No one has been brought to justice. The recent xenophobic attacks by South Africans is a sign that, in South Africa, many wounds have failed to heal. When a white man attacks a black man, a lot of noise is made about racism but now blacks are attacking fellow blacks. What a shame!

 

 

Patrice Lumumba

Patrice Lumumba

In January 1961, Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo was brutally murdered. His murderers are still keeping certain bony portions of his body as a trophy. No one has been brought to justice. It was rumoured that at the time, United Nations could and should have saved his life but it buried its head in the sand as an ostrich does. Apparently, Lumumba had been labelled by the imperialist Belgian government as a first-rate communist.

 

 

Photo by Reuters

Photo from Reuters.com

On the 15 January 2009, the nation of Israel admitted firing phosphorus bombs on several residential areas across the Gaza, including schools housing innocent children. No one has been brought to justice. The office of the chief prosecutor argues that the Palestinian government has not subscribed to the jurisdiction of ICC and therefore war crimes committed on their soil is not within the legal reach of the ICC. The only way is to apply to become a member. It is possible that war crimes may have been committed by both parties but Israel is not a signatory to ICC.

 

 

 

Photo from dailymail.co.uk

On March 19th, 2003, a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and deposed the Ba’athist government of Saddam Hussein. Iraq was, until the invasion, a relatively peaceful country. Thousands, perhaps millions have died. Now there is a blood thirsty hydra-headed creature called IS. And many do not know that this creature was conceived the day Iraq was invaded. No one has been brought to justice.

 

 

ThomasSankara

Thomas Sankara

On October 15, 1987, Thomas Sankara, the then head of state of Burkina Faso, who was very much liked by the people, was killed by an armed group with twelve other officials in a coup d’état organised by his former friend Blaise Compaoré. They were backed by the French and I assume we all know well the negative effects of French policies in West Africa. No one has since been brought to justice.

 

 

Photo by hullwebs.co.uk

Photo from hullwebs.co.uk

In August 1833, two Portuguese ships heading to England, namely “Santa Maria” and “La Guardia,” carrying about three thousand slaves in all, after learning that slave trade and slavery had been abolished in The British Empire hatched a plan to dispose of the slaves. From fear of been prosecuted and fined, up to three-fourth of the slaves were hurled into the sea, most of them with chains on. No one has been brought to justice.

The Holocaust, the Bosnian genocide, the “Armenian genocide,” the Rwandan genocide and the mass killing of the members of the Pygmy tribe during the Congolese civil wars are only a few cases in hundreds. Some of these incidences happened a long time ago but the pain cannot just disappear. I think in cases where prosecution is not possible, a formal apology to the descendants of victims will do.

Lastly, some Africans criticize the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecuting only African leaders (referring specifically to the clamouring by ICC for Omar al-Bashir, president of Sudan) and other offenders because many crimes committed outside of Africa are been ignored.

I think the misunderstanding here has to do with the requirements of international law and not natural law. Many countries, including the United States, United Kingdom(?) etc, although they have been members of ICC, they may not have actually ratified (signed and approved) their membership. Hence prosecution cannot occur as regards citizens of those countries. An appeal can only be made by victims to the supreme courts of those respective countries.

 

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3 thoughts on “Crimes Against Humanity

  1. It is good to remember injustices and continue to press for resolutions to these long unaddressed grievances. Today, on the day of the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, and holding my beloved friend Rwandan friend Romain close to my heart, I feel acutely the pain you are talking about. The image at the top is remarkable and sad.

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  2. Thanks for reading Crystal. You made me smile. Sad to hear about your Rwandan friend but I know wherever he is now, he is free. The people who commit crimes are not as guilty as those who watch them do it, without raising an alarm. I believe the responsibility lies on all of us. Well, thanks again for passing by. Be well.

    PS: Ever been to Africa?

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    • My friend is alive, but he is the only one of his family who lives. He is free physically, perhaps, and tormented and grieving always. But somehow, he has risen above and learned to love, like in your more recent post. He is one of the most loving, generous, and giving men I have ever known. And that, when he has as much right as anyone to act out in anger over the slaughter of his entire family.

      I have only traveled to Egypt, but I look forward to more visits to the continent. My friend begs me to visit Rwanda with him someday, and I’d love to see a nature park in South Sudan, in honor of another friend, a former Sudanese refugee. “Lost Boy” only she is a girl. 🙂 I met them both at University, and honestly my friendships are probably more valuable to me than anything I was taught there… ha ha.

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