The successful trial of and verdict against Charles Taylor may be, as Mwangi Kimenyi argues, “a wakeup call to Africans.”
The successful conviction for such crimes is a glaring example of the failure of Africans to govern themselves effectively. That the international criminal court has to be used to deal with issues that we as Africans should be able to deal with is a demonstration of our collective failure. That we have to rush to The Hague for others to solve our problems is probably the best example of abuse of our political independence. If anything, Africans must focus on building strong institutions to deal with human rights violations ourselves, else we should not claim to be independent and instead should let others define and enforce the rules.
But isn’t it also a wakeup call elsewhere, especially in the United States, where the criminals who supported similar offenses—for example, during the Contra attacks on Nicaragua and the invasion of and occupation of Iraq—have never even be brought to trial let alone convicted?
Isn’t that a demonstration of our collective failure—our heart of darkness—beyond Africa?