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September 19, 2013

African Leaders to Hold Summit on Kenya's ICC Cases

by Reuters

African leaders will meet in the Ethiopian capital on Oct. 13 to take a common stance on whether to join Kenya's planned pull-out from the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the prosecution of its leaders, officials said on Thursday.

So far there does not seem to be much support for it, but heads of state from the 54-member African Union (AU) may still discuss the possibility of a pullout by the 34 African signatories to the Rome Statute that created the tribunal.

Last week's start of the trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto for crimes against humanity - with President Uhuru Kenyatta's trial due in November - has fuelled a growing backlash against the Hague-based court from some African governments, which see it as a tool of Western powers.

“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 Reuters.

“An extraordinary summit will now take place to discuss the issue. A complete walk-out of signatories [to the Rome Statute] is certainly a possibility, but other requests maybe made.”

The summit would be preceded by a meeting of African foreign ministers a day earlier, he said.