AU to decide on Africa’s ICC participation Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta

PRETORIA. — The African Union will decide whether African countries will remain in the International Criminal Court, South African International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Tuesday. “South Africa will support any decision of the AU regarding the continent’s membership in the tribunal,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

She was briefing reporters in Pretoria ahead of the AU extraordinary summit scheduled for October 11 and 12 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss AU’s continued co-operation with the ICC.

Some African countries reportedly have threatened to pull out from the ICC, accusing the tribunal of unfairly targeting Africans, including Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto who are being tried for allegedly instigating violence during the country’s 2007 general election, in which more than 1 000 people died.

The AU summit comes a month after the opening of the trial of Kenyatta and Ruto at The Hague for crimes against humanity.
When asked to predict the outcome of the AU summit, Nkoana-Mashabane said her government would not speak for the AU but “we will support any decision on this matter.”

She said she could not predict the outcome before the summit convenes.
“As an African country, South Africa’s position would be considered at the summit,” the minister said.

“South Africa is going to that meeting to participate, fully aware of the developments that are taking place. We were there when the ICC was formed. We have all the rights as member states to sit back and say: Is this exactly what we thought we were forming?”

African countries account for 34 of the 122 parties to have ratified the Rome Statute, the court’s founding treaty, which took effect on July 1, 2002.

The ICC is to try genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity when alleged perpetrators cannot be brought to justice in their home countries. — Xinhua.

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