No African Head of State Should Stand Trial at ICC-AU

October 12, 2013 6:30 pm0 comments by:

By Joseph Elunya& Agencies

African heads of states at the extra ordinary summit

African heads of states at the extra ordinary summit

Adisababa-The African Union summit has resolved that no siting African President should appear before the International Criminal Court.

The AU leaders, meeting in Addis Ababa, agreed to back immunity for any sitting African head of state.

They also asked Kenya to write to the UN Security Council seeking a deferral in the International Criminal Court (ICC) case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces charges of crimes against humanity.

Both he and his deputy, William Ruto, deny charges of organizing violence after the 2007 election.

While Mr Ruto went on trial in September, President Kenyatta has repeatedly requested his trial – due next month – be postponed.

Speaking at the summit, President Kenyatta accused the court of bias and “race-hunting”.

Ethiopian Prime Minister and AU chairman Hailemariam Dessalegn said the summit was not a crusade against the ICC but a call for the court to address Africa’s concerns seriously

With both Kenyan and Sudanese presidents facing ICC cases, African leaders have long complained that the court unfairly targets them.

The AU had discussed withdrawing from the ICC, but failed to get support.

Senior figures including Kofi Annan have criticized plans to quit the ICC.

About ICC

Deals with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes

Court statute ratified by 122 countries, including 34 in Africa

Chief Prosecutor is Gambian Fatou Bensouda (pictured)

DR Congo militia leader Thomas Lubanga is the only person to be convicted so far

Investigating cases in Uganda, DR Congo, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Kenya, Libya, Mali and Ivory Coast

The ICC issued a warrant in 2009 for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir over alleged war crimes in the Darfur region, but he has not yet been arrested.

The ICC relies on the authorities of national governments to hand over suspects, but Mr Bashir has avoided arrest despite travelling to countries that have signed up to the ICC statute.

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