The summit demanded immunity for serving heads of state and governments
In a two day extraordinary session of the African heads of states and governments held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 11 -12 of Oct. to discuss the continent’s relation with the International Criminal Court (ICC) African leaders have passed a resolution against mass withdrawal, as was largely rumored, but adopted series of stern demands including a demand for a no trial by the ICC of any serving African head of state and government, and a request to the UN Security Council of deferral of the trial of Kenyan officials by the ICC.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in his closing remarks that the leaders of Africa have “adopted our decision speaking with one voice and sending a strong political message on Africa’s relationship with the ICC.”
Accordingly, the extraordinary summit agreed that “no charges shall be commenced or continued before any international court or tribunal against any serving Head of States of Government or anybody acting or entitled to act inn such capacity during his/her term of office.”
The leaders have also decided that any country from the continent that wants to refer a case to the ICC should seek the “advice of the African Union.”
With regard to the case against Kenya’s senior government officials including its president Uhuru Kenyatta, the meeting requested Kenya to send a letter to the UN’s Security Council requesting, once again, deferral of the case, a request if rejected will be followed by another request by the AU for the postponement of the trial at the ICC which is set to resume on Nov. 12 this year. If both failed to bear any result, the leaders will then call another extra ordinary summit to decide what actions should the continent take in regards to its relations with the Court.
In an elaborated answer to a question by Addis Standard on whether the request for no trial of a serving leader was not a request for impunity, Dr. Tedros Adnahom, Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, asked back: “How can a country function without its elected leader?” adding that African leaders are committed to fight impunity “but we also believe that to solve it is not the simplistic suspect-victim model.”
Nkosanza Dlamini Zuma on her part said that Kenyans have “elected [their leaders] knowing fairly well about the ICC’s case against [the officials], but they elected them.”
We will bring you a detailed analysis on this and more soon.