HARARE – African nations yesterday resolved that sitting heads of State should not be put on trial by the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, where Kenya’s leaders are standing trial for crimes against humanity.
The two-day summit for the African Union to review the continent’s relations with the ICC, rejected the “double standards” that the ICC is applying in dispensing international justice.
The 54-member AU, headquartered in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, also called for deferring the cases of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto.
This is no doubt just another political step in responding to the continuation of the criminal procedure against the two heads of the Kenyan executive.
We appreciate that African leaders have decided to take the approach of African solutions for African problems.
Yes, there have been concerns that the ICC is targeting only Africans. This is why the AU yesterday made the decision that sitting heads of State should not be tried at the ICC.
However, there are some who see Africa’s withdrawal from the ICC Statute as sad for human rights in Africa.
There is a hidden and ongoing plan at the continental level by a coalition of African leaders panicking on the prosecution by the ICC.
But, their argument on political bias by the ICC is totally misleading and it is imperative that facts be laid bare to expose this deception. There is need to interrogate how all African cases came before the ICC.
Infact, the majority of the cases were referred by the African states themselves: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.
There are only two African cases referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council where none of the three African states sitting objected.
UN Resolution 1593 on Sudan was okayed by Algeria, Benin and Tanzania while Resolution 1970 on the Libya intervention was okayed by fellow African states Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa.
Only the situation of Kenya is the result of a decision of the ICC prosecutor, but one needs to recall that the strong suggestion came from the Kenyan post election violence commission led by a Kenyan judge.
In fact, in most cases, it seems that African leaders are the only ones to be blamed for bringing the ICC into their domestic politics.
But the political campaign is so successful that many Africans are convinced that the ICC is against Africa.
So it is that the AU has come up with the concerted plan for withdrawal, boycott or alternative judicial mechanism.