Banjul: The Gambian government has said it is withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC), accusing the world body of ignoring the "war crimes" of Western nations and seeking only to prosecute Africans, AFP reported.
The decision by the West African nation, whose President Yahya Jammeh has called on the ICC to investigate African migrant deaths on the Mediterranean, comes just days after South Africa said it was quitting The Hague-based tribunal.
Information Minister Sheriff Bojang said in an announcement on state television that the court had been used "for the persecution of Africans and especially their leaders" while ignoring crimes committed by the West.
He singled out the case of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whom the ICC decided not to indict over the Iraq war.
"There are many Western countries, at least 30, that have committed heinous war crimes against independent sovereign states and their citizens since the creation of the ICC and not a single Western war criminal has been indicted," he said.
"The withdrawal", he said, "Is warranted by the fact that the ICC, despite being called International Criminal Court, is in fact an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans".
Gambia has been trying without success to use the court to punish the European Union for deaths of thousands of African migrants trying to reach its shores. The decision will also come as a personal blow to the court's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, a former Gambian justice minister.
The court at the weekend asked South Africa and Burundi to reconsider their decisions to leave, which came as a major blow to the ICC.
South Africa's decision followed a dispute last year when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited the country despite being the subject of an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes.
Earlier this month, Burundi said it would leave the court, while Namibia and Kenya have also raised the possibility.