Africa’s Gambia officially notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC), which will take effect on Nov. 10, 2017, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said on Monday, making it the third country to quit The Hague-based tribunal.
In October, Gambia’s Information Minister Sheriff Bojang described the ICC as “an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans.”
The tiny West African nation said in late October it planned to pull out of the ICC. South Africa and Burundi both notified the United Nations in October of their withdrawal from the court, which will take effect in one year.
The ICC’s current chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, is Gambian and was an adviser to Gambian President Yahya Jammeh in the early years of his rule after he seized power in a coup in 1994. She later served as justice minister.
The court, which opened in July 2002 and has 124 member states, is the first legal body with permanent international jurisdiction to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed regret that South Africa, Burundi and Gambia are leaving the ICC and said it could “send a wrong message on these countries’ commitment to justice.”