Updated: December 12, 2019

The International Criminal Court (ICC) outlines the Elements of Crimes for which individuals can be criminally prosecuted. During the run-up to the recently concluded rigged General Elections in Dominica, crimes were committed when an entire village / town was tear-gassed while asleep. These actions were taken by the Police Commissioner (Daniel Carbon) and the Regional Security Services (RSS) at the urging of Roosevelt Skerrit (running for his 4th Consecutive term to head the government). 

Article 7(1) (h) of the ICC Elements of Crimes Against Humanity describes 'Crimes Against Humanity of Persecution'. In particular, the aforementioned perpetrators and their co-conspirators, through their actions in Salisbury violated all aspects of Article 7(1) (h). Firstly, 'perpetrators targeted persons by reason of their identity of a group or collectivity or targeted the group or collectivity as such' according to section 2 of the Article. Secondly, 'targeting was based on political and other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under International Law'.   Thirdly, 'the conduct was committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population'. Finally, 'the perpetrator(s) knew that the conduct was part of or intended the conduct to be part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population'.

On the morning of December 5th, 2019 between 3AM and 4AM, a contingent of heavily armed paramilitary personnel  traveled to the height of Salisbury in Dominica to terrorize the entire village with 'tear gas' and live rounds of ammunition. This action was executed under the guise of clearing a road block that was several thousand feet from the para-military's  vantage point above the village.  Babies, infants, pregnant women, the elderly were deliberately and indiscriminately deluged with tear-gas while asleep.  The intent was to send a message to 'these people' that their rights did not matter; indeed, villagers were running for their lives. Mothers with children in hand, the sick, the physically challenged,  adults were all fleeing in chaos. Unfortunately, some could not run and had to suffer the deluge. In the middle of the day, heavily armed para-military forces returned to do nothing else but intimidate the villagers. Following these incidents, a very sick and deluded man, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, proceeded to state in an address to the nation that these actions were necessary because Police were attacked. Indeed, the main road was blocked by persons from Salisbury in protest against injustice on the island and need for electoral reform. No officers were attached, no private or government property was damaged. Yet, to this day, Roosevelt Skerrit can produce no evidence to support his contention that an entire village needed to be gassed

This is the third episode of tear-gassing of the entire village of Salisbury over the past 4 years. The other episodes, in May and June 2015, occurred when villagers blocked roads in response to government failure to rehabilitate Farm access roads (Feeder roads) on which many depend on for their livelihood. In both cases, expired tear-gas and live ammunition were used against unarmed civilian including elderly persons within their homes. The recent event in December was most egregious as it occurred at night while villagers were asleep. So, why Salisbury? Is it because it is a stronghold of the opposition party and has resisted DLP corruption at every turn. Were they singled out because they were of different political persuasion? This seems very likely and is verily  the major reason for these actions against the people of Salisbury.  

It seems clear that crimes against humanity were meted on an entire population.  These crimes include repeated use of expired tear-gas on a population, use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians, gassing an entire village in the dark of night while they are asleep. These crimes should not go unpunished. A case should be brought by the ICC so that Roosevelt Skerrit, Daniel Carbon, members of the RSS and other key players (Minister of National Security, The President of Dominica) do not walk away scot-free after committing such crimes. Like Charles Taylor of Liberia and others Criminals before him, it is time for concerned Dominican to alert State Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC (for example Canada, Mexico, Ghana) so that a Preliminary Examination can be initiated against the Perpetrators of this Crime against the People of Salisbury. An ICC investigation has been opened against one of the DLP partners in crime, the regime in Venezuela; its time for Skerrit and his co-conspirators to be confronted by a similar fate!!