Khartoum, Sudan: The Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti has blamed the absence of certain nations from the African Union (AU) extraordinary summit that took place Saturday in Ethiopia, for the failure to call for a mass withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The two-day meeting which convened on Friday saw the participation of many African leaders including two who were indicted by the ICC namely Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir and Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta.
But unlike Bashir, the Kenyan president along with his deputy William Ruto has so far committed to cooperating with the Hague based court which charged them with crimes against humanity in connection with 2007-2008 Post Elections Violence (PEV).
After Ruto and Kenyatta ascended to the presidency in elections held earlier this year, they lobbied their peers in the continent to support deferring or dropping the cases against them.
Their calls drew sympathy from a continent that appeared to be generally frustrated with a court they perceive to be targeting Africans only.
The ICC has opened investigations into eight cases, all of which are in Africa including Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR), Darfur, Kenya, Libya, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.
Five of the eight cases were referred voluntarily by the African governments in question; two through a UNSC resolution supported by all but one African member in the council at the time and the Kenyan one was opened at the ICC prosecutor’s request.
The ICC intervened after the Kenyan parliament shot down several attempts to establish a local tribunal in accordance with a power-sharing agreement brokered by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Furthermore, many MP’s said they wanted the cases investigated at the Hague.
Nonetheless, Kenya along with Uganda pushed the AU for a summit to discuss the continent’s relations with the ICC. African officials initially said that an en masse withdrawal of African countries from the ICC will be on the agenda.
But later the proposal appeared to garner the support of few states besides Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda and Ethiopia. The last three are not signatories to the court.
The meeting ended up calling on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to defer the trials of Bashir and Kenyatta under Article 16 of the court’s Rome Statute which allows for a delay of a year subject to renewal.
“If that is not met, what the summit decided is that President (Uhuru) Kenyatta should not appear until the request we have made is actually answered,” Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom told journalists in Addis Ababa according to Reuters.-standardmedia.co.ke