September 20, 2013

AU Calls For Special Summit Over ICC Pullout

The African Union has called a special summit to discuss a mass withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in protest at the trial of Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto.

A letter sent to the ICC signed by African leaders says Mr Ruto’s presence in The Hague will disadvantage Kenya.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda

The AU has previously accused the ICC of “hunting” African leaders and ignoring atrocities elsewhere.

The ICC says it is standing up for victims of crimes wherever they are.

The extraordinary summit will be held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 13 October.

Days before the start of Mr Ruto’s trial this month, Kenya’s parliament voted to leave the ICC.

This decision will not affect the trial of Mr Ruto, or Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose case is due to start in November.

Both men deny charges of organising violence following the disputed 2007 elections, in which some 1,200 people were killed.

Thirty-four of the AU’s 54 members have signed up to the ICC.

Kenya's William Ruto denies organising an ethnic militia to attack rival groups.
Kenya’s William Ruto denies organising an ethnic militia to attack rival groups.

“The Kenyans have been criss-crossing Africa in search of support for their cause, even before their parliament voted to withdraw from the ICC,” an AU official told international media.

But the official said it was not clear that the required two-thirds majority would vote to leave the ICC.

Rwanda is one of the countries pushing for a rethinking of the relationship between Africa and the ICC.

“It is not only the case of Kenya,” Rwanda’s AU ambassador Joseph Nsengimana told international media.

“We have seen international justice is becoming more and more a political matter,” he said.

The AU has called for the trials of Kenya’s leaders to be sent back to Kenya.

The cases were only referred to the ICC after Kenyan politicians failed to set up special tribunals to prosecute those responsible for the violence.

In a letter sent to the ICC on September 10 – the day Mr Ruto’s trial began, the AU argued that while he was in The Hague, President Kenyatta would not be able to leave the country to attend other meetings, such as forthcoming meetings at the UN and with the European Union.

The ICC judges have already agreed that the two trials should not be held at the same time, as Kenya’s constitution requires that one of its leaders be present in the country at all times.

Mr Ruto and President Kenyatta were elected in March.

They used their prosecutions by the ICC to bolster their campaign by portraying them as foreign interference in domestic affairs.

Mr Ruto is the first serving official to appear at the ICC.

The ICC was set up in 2002 to prosecute crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

All the eight cases it is currently investigating are in Africa.

Additional Reporting By BBC

4 thoughts on “AU Calls For Special Summit Over ICC Pullout

  1. The world’s most dangerous killers, USA is exempted from ICC prosecution!! They have committed crimes against humanity in Iraq (including raping women at Abu Ghuraib prison), in Afghanistan and else where in the world with impunity! Yet the same country shamelessly keeps referring African leaders & heads of state to the ICC (using the UN platform). Can you imagine this level of double standards??? How can you use laws and courts that are not applicable to you, to hunt down, demonize and intimidate other people?

    Whereas I have genuine problems with African leaders (some of them are filthy tyrants), I cannot support an international legal system that is using selective justice in the world. If the international community is serious about ending human rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes, all countries of the world including the notorious Israel and the US must become state parties fully bound by the jurisdiction of this court. Otherwise, it remains a stark naked, unsound institution with no credibility at all. That is why, I support the proposal for all African countries to withdraw from this immoral criminal court.

    1. you are missing the point, the US nationals are not exempted from icc prosecution, if they commit such crimes they can be prosecuted. the issue of iraq happend beofore icc statute came to power so cannot be retrospecitive, what you need to understand is that, even when a country is not signatory to rome statute, still its people can be issued arrest warrant and face icc trial. take example of sudan…but only if referral is made by security council.

      if kenya or any other african nation withdraws from the icc, they are still prosecutable before the court even when they are not members of the rome statute. they will have hard times to travel to other countries like al bashir is right now once arrest warrant is issued to them.

      1. Your argument that US nationals can be prosecuted by ICC upon referral by the UN security council is laughable! Do you sincerely believe that such a thing can happen when the US has veto power in the so called security council? Be real my friend. That is exactly why I said and I continue to say with confidence that US nationals are above this court. Your example of Al Bashir is true, but who would have protected him in UN security council? Is Sudan equivalent to the US in UN affairs?

        The idea that the US can even be part of a process that recommends people to this court is unacceptable because USA thinks this court should not apply to its own.

        What about Israel? Can Israeli nationals ever go to this court? I can guess you will say yes, via the UN security council … ha ha ha. This is the greatest mockery of international justice

        1. Lets look at the Reasons for prosecution in the ICC,
          ” Is there anything like, impunity, abusing power and life threatening in America or Israel by their presidents (governments) as it is the case on African continent by presidents and the instruments availed to them?
          Mark you, African presidents cause many atrocities and I strongly agree with the ICC to prosecute and charge them until they get some bit of sense when they cling on power.

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