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African Union Members Back Kenyan Plan to Leave ICC

The Guardian   in 
February 3, 2016

Members of the African Union have backed a Kenyan proposal to push for withdrawal from the international criminal court, repeating claims that it unfairly targets the continent.

Chad’s president, Idriss Déby, who was elected African Union chairman at the two-day summit in Addis Ababa, criticised the court for focusing its efforts on African leaders.

“Elsewhere in the world, many things happen, many flagrant violations of human rights, but nobody cares,” Déby said at the close of the summit late on Sunday, which had an official theme of protecting human rights.

No legally binding decision was made, and the decision to leave the ICC’s founding Rome statute can be decided by individual nations. The decision was a “proposal … for the AU to develop a roadmap for the withdrawal of African nations”, a Kenyan presidential statement read.

The war crimes trial of the former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo began last week, rekindling a bitter row across Africa over the international justice system.

Set up in 2002 as the last resort to try war criminals and perpetrators of genocide never tried at home, the ICC has opened inquiries involving nine nations, all but one of them African: Kenya, Ivory Coast, Libya, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic (twice), Uganda, Mali and, most recently, Georgia.

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