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African Union to Establish Emergency Military Force

Djibouti soldiers serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) patrol the south central town of Beledweyne in Somalia, May 9, 2013.
The African Union says it will establish an emergency military force to deal with conflicts and rebellions on the continent.

The rapid reaction force, called the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), would serve as an interim measure until the planned African Standby force is fully operational.

It will be formed from voluntary contributions of troops, equipment and funding by member nations.

The African Standby force has been in the works for 10 years and remains only partially operational.

Delays in the force have led to criticism that the African Union does not act quickly enough in dealing with regional conflicts, particularly Mali, which was partially taken over last year by Islamist rebels.

Monday's announcement came as leaders wrapped up AU summit in Addis Ababa.

African leaders at the summit also urged the International Criminal Court to refer its cases against Kenya's top leaders back to the Kenyan court system.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto are facing charges of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in Kenya's 2007-2008 post-election violence.

Speaking to reporters Monday, African Union Chair and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn condemned the ICC process in Africa as flawed and racially biased. All of the court's cases so far involve African countries.