African Heads of State at the 26th AU Summit in Addid Ababa, Ethiopia
African states are not planning to pull out of the Rome Statute after all. Contrary to widespread media reports the treaty that some 34 African countries were mobilising to pull out of the treaty that creates the International Criminal Court, the official decision and report on progress on the ICC only reiterate past African union positions.
“The commission continues to engage with relevant stakeholders within the ICC in order to issues raised in the various decisions of the AU Policy Organs on the ICC,” read part of the draft decision on the progress report of the commission on the implementation of decisions on the ICC.
Fears were raised that African states were massing to withdraw from the Rome Statute, an oft-repeated threat, even as the continent’s leaders pushed more states to ratify the agreement that gives criminal jurisdiction to the African Court of Justice and Human Rights. Since the agreement was launched in Malabo in 2014, only four of the 54 African countries have signed the protocol.
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The AU has strenuously insisted that it opposes impunity but finds itself unable to support the ICC on the arrest of Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur; as well as the continuing trial of Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto. Mr Ruto is facing crimes against humanity charges alongside radio journalist Joshua arap Sang after the violence that occurred in Kenya in the aftermath of the 2007 General Election.
The prosecution has closed its case, and the defence is expected to present its witnesses and evidence if a motion to terminate the case does not succeed. Judges are expected to rule on the no-case-to-answer motion, as well as on an appeal on a decision to allow the use of recanted evidence.