Saturday, October 12, 2013

African Union fail to secure support to quit the ICC.

The Extra-ordinary Summit of the African Union has ended with the main reason for convening it in the first place was never on the agenda.  Since the indictment of both the President and Vice President of Kenya by the International Criminal Court (ICC), there has been calls from African leaders that the entire Membership of the AU should withdraw from the ICC.  There have been claims that the kenyan President was the one responsible for whipping up the frenzy among his colleagues as a way of registering dissatisfaction at the way and manner in which the ICC carries out its functions.  Specify charges of targeting Africa and African leaders, have been leveled since the time of Louis Moreno Ocampo, the Argentine lawyer who became the first Chief Prosecutor of the international court.  Another charge leveled against the court has been that since its inception in over a decade, the court has convicted only one person.

African leaders met for two days in an attempt to carry out their threat.  Although the issue of withdrawing their membership en masse was discussed, the item didn't gain much support and understandable so. Countries that either have cases pending before the court ( Liberia, DRC, Cote d'Ivory) or have been in the fore of justifying the existence of the Court ( South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria ) cannot be seen to be remotely supportive of the idea to carry out the threat of withdrawing membership.

There is the sense of irony that the African Union that was in the fore of getting an African, a lady at that, elected to the post of Chief Prosecutor, will now be leading the campaign to withdraw support.  It didn't take long after the Summit date was fixed for the AU to realize that the idea didn't enjoy the support of Africa's elder statesmen like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who penned a blistering newspaper article printed in many papers around the continent pointing fingers at Heads of State for instigating the campaign which would be tragic for Africa should they succeed.  he warned them not to let leaders get away with murder.  Kofi Annan also chimed in  by stating that should the threat be carried out it would be a 'badge of shame' for the leaders and the continent.  More than 125 civic organizations and NGO groups signed a petition to the African Union leadership. it worked.

Was it necessary to stir up things when the best the African Union could come up with after today's final session was to demand deferral of the case of the Kenyan President.  A resolution was also passed that says that no sitting African head of state should appear before an international court much to the relief of Yaya Jammeh and other African dictators like him.