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Will African Union Members Pull Out of ICC?

  • Blessing  Zulu

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya. (File Photo/AP)

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya. (File Photo/AP)

The African Union will meet Friday in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, to start deliberations on the deeply divisive issue of whether its African nations will remain members of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC).

Some African countries are threatening to pull out of the ICC alleging that the tribunal is being used to target African leaders including Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and Sudanese leader Omar Al-Bashir.

They allege that serious human rights abuses in the developed nations are ignored.
President Robert Mugabe, who is not a signatory to the ICC statutes, has often singled out former US President George Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as candidates for the ICC for their role in the Iraq war.

But some African nations bolstered by former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan are discouraging African nations from pulling out calling it a court of last resort.

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.

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga said African leaders must not be scared by the ICC.