UPDATE: African Union Measure for Mass Withdrawal From ICC Fails

The African Union conference hall in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. (Photo Courtesy the African Union Commission)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Saturday, September 12th, 2013

New York (TADIAS) — Members of the African Union failed to garner enough support to deliver on their widely publicized threat of mass withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC). Instead, during a special meeting held in Addis Ababa this weekend, the body settled on language demanding a deferral of the international trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, due to start in November, and asking that sitting heads of state not appear before the court. The current President of Sudan, Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir who attended the emergency meeting in Ethiopia, is also wanted on five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes for his role in the Darfur conflict.

“The unfair treatment that we have been subjected to by the ICC is completely unacceptable,” said Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, referring to the cases of Kenyatta and Bashir. Ethiopia is not member of the ICC, but the PM was speaking as the current AU Chairman.

Five of the eight African countries that have pending cases before the International Criminal Court (Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast and Mali) are all member states that appealed for the court to prosecute crimes against humanity that took place in their countries.

The proposal to withdraw en masse from the International Criminal Court (ICC) was rejected by prominent Afrian leaders including Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, who urged the AU to not pass the measure.

African Union urges ICC to defer Uhuru Kenyatta case (BBC)
In Africa, Seeking a License to Kill (The New York Times)
Kofi Annan Urges African Leaders to Stand by International Criminal Court (LA Times)
Who Will Stop the Next Genocide? By Desmond Tutu
Perceptions and Realities: Kenya and ICC (Human Rights Watch)
Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta Requests ICC Trial Via Video Link (BBC News)
Despite Talk of a Mass Walk-Out, African Bloc “Unlikely” to Leave (IWPR)
AU May Seek Deferral of Kenyatta ICC Case (VOA News)
Is ICC Racist? Reviewing The Docket for Crimes Against Humanity (TADIAS)

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