Kenya’s government continues to make frantic efforts to lead a mass pullout of African states from the Rome Statute because of cases facing its citizens at the International Criminal Court. In the recent ICC decision on the Ruto-Sang application for acquittal, Presiding Judge EBOE-OSUJI addressed the onslaught against the court by Africa. This article is excerpted from his judgment.
It has always been my position that it is a correct attitude for the Court to pay close attention to the views of regional States-men and -women, especially when they express concerns in good faith as a bloc. Good faith is of the essence: for, the concern in question may relate to a matter on which reasonable people may genuinely harbour differing views; let alone a matter of honest misunderstanding. The reason for my position includes the following. It is important to address their concerns and anxieties, to the extent reasonably possible. Among other things, such an attitude augurs well for a better understanding of important legal questions on which the judges of this
Court may be best placed to explain things, by virtue of their training, experience and pre-occupation on a daily basis. It is, however, important to stress that this does not mean acceding to any particular diplomatic call that has been made.
It is noted that the AU recently called upon the Court to terminate this case peremptorily. This is not the first time that the call was made. A similar call was directed at the Court in October 2013 following the Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government, while the Kenyan postelection violence cases were with the judges.
In a separate opinion issued in the context of the companion case, I had endeavoured to explain that considerations of the rule of law left no room to heed the call merely because the AU had made it. That remains the case.
Read more views from the judge: These are parts of the public redacted version of decision on defence applications for judgments of acquittal.
ICC does not target Africa only:
ICC is independent from political pressure:
Africa’s mistaken call for immunity of Heads of State:
African Union’s mistaken approach to seeking immunity for Heads of State – See more