It is hard to imagine a more egregious example of a prominent resident of a tin house throwing can-openers at others.
Bensouda served as general prosecutor and minister for Gambia under Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh’s regime is widely known to be responsible for atrocities including murder, torture, and rape. Thus Bensouda’s decision to sling mud at the United States and at Israel's leaders as alleged demons of the world who commit war crimes, rather than looking far closer to home, is hypocritical and cynical. Bensouda sees, daily in her own looking glass, a justice (sic) minister who served a barbaric tyrant alleged to be guilty of numerous crimes.
Media have reported that even Gambia’s own “lead council of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission” has admitted that Bensouda “likely had” what they term “a passing role” in atrocities. And international law expert Dr. Eugene Kontrovich has confirmed that “whether the chief prosecutor ...has herself been involved in human rights abuses is...of legitimate interest”. Bensouda may have been only passively involved in Jammeh’s human rights abuses, Kontrovich added, but “those whom she purports to prosecute” (e.g. the USA and Israel) “have a right to know whether she applies the same standards on the facilitation of crimes, to her own conduct.”
Unfortunately but again unsurprisingly, Bensouda has refused to comply with any such inquiry. “Bensouda... has consistently refused to comment on her past involvement with the Jammeh regime”, Times of Israel has reported. Worse, Bensouda has reportedly “declined to open an investigation into the Gambia” because “It has to be clear that the ICC is not a human rights court”. This is a strange argument for Bensouda to make, considering that her own just-published accusatory document against Israel mentions human rights no less than 48 times.
Strange. When it comes to prosecuting The Gambia, “many states”, some of whom are less than friendly toward the United States and Israel, reportedly become “concerned about the effects of ICC on resolving regional disputes through peaceful negotiations.” Another sentiment seems to be that “If there is a need to investigate and prosecute Jammeh, everything should be done to see it happen in The Gambia.”
For some reason, again unsurprisingly, these “many states” hypocritically fail to apply this very same logic to far more upstanding countries than Gambia -- such as the USA, or Israel. Thus as even left wing NGO B’Tselem has admitted, “political pressure and international power struggles often influence how priorities are set and which cases are selected.”
If real justice is to be served, Bensouda would need to take the following steps -- and in the following order:
(a ) First, to submit to and fully cooperate in an international probe of her own conduct under Dictator Jammeh.
(b ) Second, to conduct a full probe of the many alleged crimes of the Jammeh period in Gambia, since these were severe, numerous and chronologically occurred before the so-called “crimes” purportedly committed by Israel.
(c ) Third, to conduct a full probe of Equatorial Guinea, thought to be an even worse dictatorship than Gambia. Equatorial Guinea dictattor, Teodoro Obiang, is currently harboring Jammeh – preventing justice from reaching Jammeh’s alleged victims. Alleged abuses under Obiang have included "unlawful killings by security forces; government-sanctioned kidnappings; systematic torture of prisoners and detainees by security forces; life-threatening conditions in prisons...; arbitrary arrest, ...and incommunicado detention.”
Also, while Obiang is one of the world's wealthiest heads of state, according to Forbes, he is alleged to have seized control of Gambia’s treasury, and then deposited half a billion (!) dollars of national funds into sixty odd bank accounts controlled by his family, in 2003. Obiang has even been accused of cannibalism -- and of skinning people alive.
It is true that the ICC is unable to prosecute Equatorial Guinea’s dictator Teodoro Obiang because Equatorial Guinea is not an ICC member state. On the other hand, neither is the USA. Nor is Israel.
The final step, (d ), that Bensouda would need to take if any justice is truly to be served, is to provide actual legal arguments which somehow implicate Israel in her view. Instead, sad to say, buried in the ostensibly learned documents prepared by Bensouda we find an open admission that she “has relied on the views of the international community.” Thus, Bensouda’s ostensible erudite legal arguments against Israel, America’s ally, simply boil down to the unglamorous fact that there has long been an automatic anti- Israel majority, in the international community.
Until and unless these 4 steps have been taken, any absurd harassment (aka "investigation" and "prosecution") of Israel by Bensouda’s "International Criminal Court" is only more evidence of how utterly this sad organization has run amok - under the stewardship of Bensouda.
Susie Dym is a spokesperson for Mattot Arim, a right wing Israeli NGO