ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – THE African Union (AU) is going ahead with plans to endorse a mass withdrawal of its members from the International Criminal Court (ICC) at a meeting with the United Nations Security Council today (Friday).
This is in protest of alleged victimization of African leaders accused of crimes against humanity by the ICC.
In January, the AU decided to mandate its Open-Ended Committee on the ICC to develop a “comprehensive strategy” that includes withdrawal from the court.
The committee met in April and identified some conditions that it said should be met for the AU to avoid calling for withdrawal.
These included a demand for immunity for sitting heads of state and other senior officials from prosecution before the ICC.
The work of the Open-Ended Committee on the ICC was the latest development in a backlash against the ICC by some African leaders, focused on charges that the ICC is unfairly targeting Africa.
The backlash first surged in the wake of the 2009 ICC arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, on charges of serious crimes committed in Darfur.
It reached a new level of intensity in 2013, when then ICC suspects Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were elected president and deputy president of Kenya, respectively.
Only Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia are against the withdrawal.
Some 25 human rights groups from the continent also expressed their displeasure ahead of the Friday meeting.