News / Africa

African Nations Discuss Stance on ICC

FILE - Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto (R) reacts as he sits in the courtroom before his trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
FILE - Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto (R) reacts as he sits in the courtroom before his trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
VOA News
African Union leaders are meeting in Ethiopia to discuss the International Criminal Court, which some countries charge is biased against African nations.

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the 54-member AU on Friday the ICC has become a political tool that unfairly targeted Africans.

On Thursday, Zimbabwe's justice minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, accused the ICC of humiliating African leaders while being slow to prosecute Western leaders.

The criticism comes as the Hague-based court prepares for the November trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mr. Kenyatta, and his deputy, William Ruto, face charges of crimes against humanity for allegedly organizing post-election violence in 2007 and 2008.

On Thursday, Mr. Kenyatta's lawyers called for the case the case to be dismissed, citing alleged abuses that included witness intimidation.

The Kenyan parliament voted last month for the country to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the ICC.

However, Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed says Kenya will not lobby for a mass withdrawal from the ICC at the AU summit.

Earlier this week, the world court received support from 130 groups across Africa. In an open letter, they said the ICC is a "crucial court of last resort."

Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan also defended the ICC and urged African leaders not to withdraw their support.

Amnesty International said an African bid to pull out from the ICC would be "reactionary in the extreme." In a Thursday statement, the international rights group said the court should expand its work outside of Africa, but that did not mean the current ICC probes involving African countries were "without basis."

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity. Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the court for alleged war crimes and genocide in Darfur.

The AU summit began Friday with ministerial-level meetings. Heads of state will join the session on Saturday in Addis Ababa.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
by: Julius Sibanda
October 12, 2013 1:35 PM
Some folk have a very short memory of what happened in Zimbabwe.

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
October 12, 2013 3:35 AM
African leaders suffered long-lasting humiliation by ICC and the Western world. With copies of colonialism template in their possession, ICC continually treats black African leaders as international second class citizens. This kind of behaviour has to be stopped.
Africa will lose nothing for standing up and demand equal treatment for ALL!! And ICC has to pay a price for misbehaving.

October 12, 2013 12:56 AM
Most African Leaders that support pulling out from ICC are insecured as they know the court may visit them any time they may find themselves in similar situation of post election violence or the like. Most cases that are there are result of clinging to Power; which is common in Africa

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