Newscast Media LONDON—Amnesty International has written to the African Union
Summit discouraging the granting of immunity to African heads of state who have
committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Amnesty argues that
such a move will completely undermine the integrity of the African Court of Justice
and Human Rights, even before it becomes operational.
In an open letter Amnesty International called on African Union (AU) heads of state
and government meeting in Equatorial Guinea this week not to adopt a proposed
amendment which would grant immunity from prosecution to sitting government
leaders and senior officials in the African Court of Justice and Human Rights.
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Newscast Media NAIROBI—Western diplomats have reached an agreement that would
see President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial suspended by the International Criminal Court
(ICC) for a year. The deal is scheduled to be presented to the UN Security Council for
consummation, according to UK’s Daily Telegraph media outlet.
The Telegraph reported that an extraordinary summit of the African Union on
Saturday issued an ultimatum to the court to stop the case, warning judges that Mr
Kenyatta must not be compelled to face trial.
Mr Kenyatta, who was elected in March, welcomed the decision and criticised the
court. “It stopped being the home of justice the day it became the toy of declining
imperial powers,” he said. “Africa is not a third-rate territory of second-class peoples.
We are not a project, or experiment of outsiders.” Diplomats fear the trial could
create a impasse in which the Kenyan leader either pulls out of the process at the
last minute, or African states start withdrawing from its jurisdiction, according to the
A senior European diplomat stated that Kenyatta is not an indicted figure who is
defying the court.
“He is not like Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir. He is someone who is working closely
with the West in a region in chaos that needs to tackle a very worrying terrorist
situation. A solution must be found that avoids a breakdown in relations with
Kenyatta or the court’s authority,” he said.
According to The Telegraph, European officials have sought to adopt measures to
ensure Kenyatta is not forced to leave the country in the wake of the Westgate mall
terror attack, therefore a resolution that would suspend the ICC trial could be
adopted by the end of the month.
Newscast Media NEW YORK—AU leaders may have decided against a mass withdrawal from the ICC, but confrontation is still in the air. As trial of President Kenyatta draws near, Kenyans are reacting with a mixture of defiance and resignation.
Kenya’s foreign affairs minister Amina Mohamed told the media in Nairobi on Monday that the International Criminal Court would have to wait “until after the president leaves office.”
President Uhruru Kenyatta’s trial on charges of crimes against humanity is due to start in The Hague on November 12.
Some Kenyans, like political anaylst Egara Kabaji, are clearly worried. “It basically means Kenya becomes a pariah state. Nobody will want to do business with us,” he told Deutsche Welle’s Nairobi correspondent James Shimanyula.
Lucy Mwangi, who sells chicken in Kariobangi on the eastern outsikirts of the Kenyan capital, said she didn’t suport Kenyatta going to ICC because it would be “unfair for Kenyans.”
At the AU summit, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda put forward a resolution urging for a withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the legal foundation for the ICC. This failed to obtain majority backing. Before the summit started, there was support for the ICC from political heavyweights Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana.
The AU’s deliberations were opened by the chairman of its executive council, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who branded the treatment of Africa by the ICC as “unfair and unjust.” He insisted that Kenyan President Uhruru Kenyatta should be allowed to “govern his country,” an apparent reference to his expected enforced absence from Kenya while he is in The Hague.
AU leaders want the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to defer Kenyatta’s trial for a year. The UNSC has the authority to do this under article 16 of the ICC’s Rome Statute.
Solomon Derso is an expert on the AU at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Addis Ababa. He told Deutsche Welle the UNSC would only agree to such a deferral when there was a threat to international security and that was not in evidence in the case of Kenya.
“I really don’t see any positive response coming from the side of the UN Security Council,” he said.
On examining the possible voting intentions of two permanent members of the UNSC, Harmen van der Wilt, professor of international criminal law at the University of Amsterdam, came to a similar conclusion. “It is well known that the UK and France are supporters of the International Criminal Court so they could say, well, we could veto the decision,” he told Deutsche Welle.
The AU recommended that as a last resort Kenyatta should simply refuse to appear at the court in The Hague.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media NAIROBI—African leaders have accused The Hague of targeting the continent in prosecutions. A summit comes as tensions mount between the International Criminal Court and the African Union. Leaders of several nations in the 54-member AU have accused The Hague of singling out Africans, and demanded that the ICC – the world’s first permanent court to try genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity – drop proceedings against Kenya’s leadership.
“The manner in which the court has been operating, particularly its unfair treatment of Africa and Africans, leaves much to be desired,” Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, chairman of the AU’s executive council, told delegates at the opening of a two-day summit called to consider the union’s cooperation with The Hague as well as to elect a new peace and security commissioner for the bloc.
“Far from promoting justice and reconciliation … the court has transformed itself into a political instrument,” he added. “This unfair and unjust treatment is totally unacceptable.”
African countries account for 34 of the 122 parties to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty, which took effect on July 1, 2002. A mass pullout from the court, which some countries have demanded, could seriously damage the institution.
Africans stand trial in all eight cases currently before the ICC. However, the countries themselves have referred four of those cases to The Hague – including those involving Kenya. The ICC has charged Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto, as well as former radio boss Joshua Arap Sang, with crimes against humanity linked to post-election violence in 2007-2008 that left at least 1,100 dead and more than 600,000 homeless.
The trial of Ruto and Sang has already begun, and proceedings against Kenyatta should start on November 12. The accused have so far pledged to cooperate with the court, but tensions have mounted amid accusations of witness intimidation in Kenya and counter-complaints against the ICC that the court’s inflexibility has hampered the running of the country.
Source: Radio Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media ADDIS ABABA—The African Union (AU) has lashed out at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for targeting Africans on a racial basis, according to Press TV reports.
“African leaders have come to a consensus that the [ICC] process that has been conducted in Africa has a flaw,” AU Chair and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told reporters on the sidelines of the 21st AU summit in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday.
“The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity … but now the process has degenerated to some kind of race hunting,” he added.
On Friday, African foreign ministers agreed to draft a proposal to request the ICC to drop crimes against humanity cases against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his compatriots at The Hague and refer them back to Kenya.
Kenyatta is accused by the ICC of crimes against humanity for violence related to the 2007 election, and he is scheduled to be tried at The Hague in July.
More than 1,000 Kenyans were killed and 600,000 forced to leave their homes following the disputed 2007 vote.
African countries also agreed to establish a joint rapid reaction force to deal with regional security emergencies. The decision is aimed at reducing the continent’s reliance on external forces and funds for defense.
The special force will be formed from voluntary contributions of troops, equipment and funds by member states.
Newscast Media The HAGUE, Netherlands — Intervention by the International Criminal Courts (ICC) on behalf of victims that are suffering injustices under oppressive regimes is something that makes the perpetrators, enablers and spin-doctors within police states nervous. The role of the ICC is simply to bring to justice those who commit crimes against humanity.
In the third world, especially in Africa, the ICC has taken a very active role in ensuring that leaders who abuse their power, together with their henchmen do not escape unpunished. What’s remarkable is that even those who give orders that lead to crimes being committed are also held as accountable as the people who commit them. So often people in police states make the excuse, “I was just following orders,” however, that kind of reasoning doesn’t exempt them from prosecution by the ICC.
Take for example on September 28, 2010, the French authorities arrested Mr. Callixte Mbarushimana, suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the Kivus, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Documents from the International Criminal Court indicate that they (the ICC) had reasonable grounds to believe that Callixte Mbarushimana a 47 year old Rwandan citizen, has been since July 2007, the Executive Secretary of the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda – Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi (FDLR-FCA, hereafter FDLR) and is criminally responsible, under article 25(3)(d) of the Rome Statute, for five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, torture, rape, inhumane acts and persecution) and six counts of war crimes (attacks against the civilian population, destruction of property, murder, torture, rape and inhuman treatment).
The ICC also acknowledged that Mbarushimana’s partners in crime, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui were currently in their custody.
In a statement, the ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo thanked France for a smooth and efficient operation, and said, “This is a good day for the victims. This is a good day for justice. But there is still a lot to do to break the cycle of impunity in the DRC. Callixte Mbarushimana is in custody. But another commander sought by the ICC for massive crimes, Bosco Ntaganda, is still at large in Goma and his forces roam the Kivus killing and raping. He must be next.”
In Kenya, after the civil war that broke out in which over 1,100 people were killed and over 650,000 displaced from their homes in the two-month violence aftermath of the disputed 2007 presidential election, the ICC launched an investigation and over 400 inhabitants sent in applications to the local ICC office saying they were willing to testify through intermediaries, regarding the crimes that were committed against them. After gathering all the pertinent information regarding the crimes committed, several Kenyan politicians and those who planned and financed the post-election violence are now being brought to trial by the ICC in the Hague.
As February 18, inches closer, neighboring Uganda has fears of its own. The police paraded around their convoy of vehicles, as a subliminal message to voters that they will be squashed should any violence erupt on Election Day. The ICC is also closely watching this small nation because it is violence prone, based on the animosity between the current administration of incumbent Yoweri Museveni and the Kingdom of Buganda.
The Baganda believe they are targets after their national monuments the Kasubi tombs were incinerated and three people shot to death in connection with the riots that happened thereafter. On September 11, 2009 the BBC reported that police used live bullets to disperse crowds after the King (Kabaka) of Buganda was denied travel to Kayunga township in his very own kingdom. The Baganda people are some of the most fearless people in the world, who aren’t afraid to stare down a barrel of a gun as shown in the BBC video.
Indeed an international agency like the ICC will have its foot soldiers on the ground on election day February 18, in Uganda, because the resentment toward the current administration by Ugandans who feel oppressed as noted in the WikiLeaks documents, has a high likelihood of generating what happened in Kenya or what is currently happening in Ivory Coast.
The great Roman orator and statesman Cicero, in his book “On The Good Life” on page 158, said, “When you want to help one group of persons, be careful not to offend another. Avoid the mistake, so frequently made, of acting to the detriment of any individual whom it is morally wrong to injure. To do such a thing by accident is careless; to do it deliberately is foolhardy.”