African countries have adopted a resolution to withdraw from the Rome Statute that establishes the International Criminal Court (ICC). In a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the African Union Executive Council rubberstamped a report highlighting Africa’s misgivings with the court.
Africa’s leaders are expected to adopt the document during a Heads of State meeting over the weekend.
Africa’s leaders will adopt the report recommending a collective withdrawal of their nations from the Rome Statute, which the Executive council has been working on this week.
“Africa feels that it is not wanted or has no value to the court,” said Ambassador Amina Mohammed, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary.
The decision by the Trial Court to apply Rule 68 that allows use of recanted testimony in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Arap Sang aggravated the situation.
Africa had agreed to the clause on the assumption that it would only be applied in future cases, not on an on-going case like the one against Ruto and Sang.
“The first thing the court said was that whatever the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) had agreed was irrelevant. What business do we have being in an institution that has no bearing on anything?” posed CS Mohammed.
It was against the basic principles of law and the rule of natural justice, they say.
“We only made progress at the ASP because the President of the Assembly understood Africa and it’s concerns.”
Africa has not shied from stating that the court is skewed against the continent, only chasing after African leaders and that it has been acting on the behest of western interests.
President Omar Al Bashir has been a fugitive since the ICC issued a warrant of arrest against him in March 2009 on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
However, each state withdraws individually. In that case, Kenya will need to pass a Bill in Parliament to amend the International Crimes Act. Afterwards, a state party as stated in Article 127 of the Rome Statute, may, write to the UN Secretary General notifying him of the intention to withdraw from the Statute. The withdrawal shall take effect one year after the date of receipt of the notification.