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AU Says African Leaders Need ICC Immunity

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn says African leaders should have ICC immunity. (Reuters/Keith Bedford)
African leaders agree that sitting presidents should not be put on trial by the International Criminal Court (ICC) as Kenyan leaders appear in the dock for atrocities committed soon after the country’s disputed 2007 elections.

The African leaders meeting in Ethiopia called for the ICC to defer the trial of Kenyan leaders - President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto.

Speaking at an African Union (AU) summit today in Addis Ababa, some heads of state expressed concern that the world court is biased against African nations and unfairly targets Africans.

Another sitting president who is being targeted by the ICC is Sudan's president Omar Al-Bashir.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who serves as the Africa Union chairman, urged the ICC to pay attention to the concerns raised by the 54-member AU.

"It should be underscored that our goal is not and should not be a crusade against the ICC, but a solemn call for the organization to take Africa's concerns seriously,” he said.

Most of the African leaders wanted to pull out of the ICC saying it does not prosecute leaders from developed nations for committing war crimes.

Zanu-PF central committee member, Godfrey Malaba, said the ICC has become a puppet of western nations.

And political analyst Shadreck Guto of the University of South Africa said the ICC does not have power to grant these leaders immunity against prosecution.

President Robert Mugabe is attending the AU summit where he has been backing calls for African member states to pull out of the ICC.

More details to follow ...