Oct. 15 (GIN) – The African Union has given notice to the International Criminal Court that it should end its war crimes trials of sitting heads of state.
Also, at the AU summit in Ethiopia this past weekend, it was agreed that the Hague-based court should suspend the trial of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, but they nixed a call for a complete withdrawal from the court.
Addressing the summit, Mr Kenyatta accused the court of bias and “race-hunting.”
Kenyatta and Ruto are accused of instigating and financing deadly violence in a post-election melee in 2007 that cost hundreds of lives and forced thousands to flee their homes.
Critics accused the court of “hunting Africans” as eight cases were selected from Africa for prosecution out of 139 worldwide. These eight were Uganda, the DRC, the Central African Republic; Darfur, Sudan; the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya; the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.
But a growing number of African scholars, elders, and civil society activists back the jurisdiction of the court which steps in when local courts are unable or unwilling to do the job. A withdrawal from the ICC, they say, would enable those who have “killed, maimed and oppressed,” …