Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has described the International Criminal Court (ICC) as "useless" as Gambia becomes the latest African nation to say it will leave the ICC while accusing the world court of persecuting and humiliating Africans.
On 26 October, Gambia joined South Africa and Burundi in withdrawing from the court. Burundi became a global outlier when it officially withdrew from the Hague-based court, which investigates and prosecutes cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, on 19 October. South Africa followed suit, claiming the intergovernmental organisation's view on conflict resolution is "incompatible" with its own.
While other nations are stepping up the rhetoric against the court, which they say is biased against African states, Museveni –who is seen as a potential contender to join the 'exit' club – praised South Africa and Burundi's move to leave the tribunal.
"It is a very good decision that South Africa has done that. In fact, it is (the ICC) that is very useless," he told reporters as he landed for a visit in Zambia where he attended the country's independence celebrations.
Yoweri Miseveni has been a vocal advocate for abandoning the Hague court, claiming the ICC represents a politicisation of justice and was nothing more than a Western tool designed to humiliate African nations.
Reports on Tuesday indicated that the ICC had since urged member states to seek a consensus with critical African nations, while stressing that South Africa and Burundi's announced departures would not take place for a year, at least.
Is the ICC 'biased against African states'?
In its notice, Gambia railed against the court's perceived bias against African states – claims other African countries have used as they threatened to pull out.
The ICC has opened inquiries into 10 countries for possible trial, nine of which are in Africa: two cases in Central African Republic (CAR), Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Libya, Kenya, Darfur (Sudan), Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
All three of the court's ongoing trials involve Africans. These include the cases of former President of Côte d'Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo and ally Charles Blé Goudé, the case of former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba tried for alleged crimes committed in neighbouring CAR, and that of Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda.
All suspects convicted for crimes against humanity and/or war crimes are African. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, an al-Qaeda jihadi, was the first to be found guilty for the war crime of attacking religious and historical buildings in the Malian city of Timbuktu last month.