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Amnesty International opposes ICC pull out

11 October 2013, 09:35

Nairobi - Amnesty International, the human rights body, urged African states to reject calls to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.

The calls came ahead of the African Union's (AU's) extraordinary summit, which was scheduled to resume on Friday in Ethiopia.

The summit comes amid plans by Kenya to withdraw from the court.

Some AU members are concerned that the ICC is unfairly targeting African countries.

“A resolution calling on African states to withdraw en bloc from the Rome Statute would be reactionary in the extreme,” said Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Law and Policy.

“Such a resolution would serve no purpose except to shield from justice, and to give succour to, people suspected of committing some of the worst crimes known to humanity.”

He added that ICC should expand its work outside Africa, but it did not mean that its eight current investigations in African countries were without basis.

"The victims of these crimes deserve justice,” Hondora said.

Most of the cases in Africa were referred to the ICC by the African governments themselves. These include Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Mali.

Two other cases, Darfur and Libya, were referred by the UN Security Council with the full support of its African members.

However, a group of African states, have been leading a campaign against the ICC.

Ahead of the Summit, African Union chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has also written to the President of the Security Council urging it to defer the case in Kenya following the terror attack in Westgate Mall.

“Victims of the post-election violence have waited over five years to see the cogs of justice turn after Kenya failed to deliver justice and the ICC stepped in,” said Hondora.

 “A deferral would delay justice to victims and would likely lead to repeated requests for annual extensions which would reinforce impunity. The ICC’s trials should proceed.” - CAJ News


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