The African Union (AU) has threatened to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) unless its raft of demands are met.
At a meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday, African foreign affairs ministers welcomed the termination of the case against Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, and journalist Joshua Sang.
However, they made several demands which include immunity from prosecution for sitting heads of state and senior government officials. They also want the powers of the chief prosecutor trimmed.
Other demands that the open-ended ministerial conference are making are that the decisions of African judiciaries and the AU are given precedence over the ICC and the reduction of the powers of the prosecutor.
In a decision that led to the termination of the case against Ruto and Sang, both the judges and the prosecutor decried what they termed as political interference and witness intimidation.
Chief ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has trailed her guns on three Kenyans accused of outing witnesses. According to her, “None of the three suspects, who have been charged by the court with obstructing the course of justice in this case, has yet been surrendered to the court by the government of Kenya. I call on the authorities of the Republic of Kenya to fulfil their obligations under the Rome Statute, and surrender these three suspects to the court without further delay, so their guilt or innocence of the charges against them may be independently and impartially determined in a trial.”
The meeting demanded that the arrest warrants against the three be lifted with immediate effect. The AU has led a campaign against the ICC, accusing it of unfairly targeting its leaders.
The ministerial conference agreed to speed up the formation of an African Court of Human Rights and Justice and Kenya has offered to contribute one million dollars towards the operationalization of the court.