The decision by government to consult citizens on weather Zambia should withdraw from or remain a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) should be commended. This is because Zambia is a democratic state in which serious decisions affecting the nation require the participation of citizens.As a Civic Expert, I hereby issues a media statement to the effect that Zambia should not attempt to withdraw its membership from the ICC. I say so because I fully understand the benefits of a country being a member of the ICC and the consequences of withdrawing.

To start with, we need to realise that the ICC was established to investigate, prosecute and try individuals (not states) accused of committing the most serious crimes of concern to the International Community such as crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression. In short the ICC was created to protect and safeguard human rights.

It is important to realise that the world is getting integrated at a very fast rate thereby creating a global village. Various areas such as trade, culture, sports and governance are getting more integrated. It is for this reason that countries should embrace institutions that aim at fighting international problems such as wars, climate change and economic crunch.

I am aware that the decision by government to carry out these consultations is a result of the African Union resolution for member states to consider withdrawing or remaining members of the ICC. This is because of the perception that the court seems to be targeting only African leaders while those from other continents who have committed serious crimes have never been brought before it.

It is important to note that no Zambian leader has ever been investigated by the ICC. However, withdrawing from the ICC may be posing a danger for the future. We may elect leaders in future who will become tyrannical and abusive to the citizens knowing for sure that they will not face the wrath of international law. We should safeguard the rights of our people using all available means. We should never create room for leaders to use power to abuse the citizens at any particular time.

The Best African countries should do is to push for relevant reforms in the International Criminal Court which will help to improve its performance. Using the excuse of other criminals to protect our criminals is a danger to society which we should guard against at all costs. In this regard, I urge all citizens that, as the consultations will be going on, let us say “NO” to Zambia’s withdrawal from the ICC and “YES” to remaining a member for the sake of present and future posterity.

Lackson Lungu – Civic Expert