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AU collective withdrawal plan from ICC suffer setback


PHOTO: Missionaries of Africa

PHOTO: Missionaries of Africa

The plan by members of African Union (AU) to collectively withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) may suffer a setback as Nigeria and some other countries objected the proposal.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Addis Ababa.

Onyeama explained that there was a strategy adopted by AU for collective withdrawal from the ICC which Nigeria did not subscribe to.

The minister said that when the issue came up during a meeting, several countries kicked against it.

He said Nigeria and others believed that the court had an important role to play in holding leaders accountable, hence Nigeria fully stood by it.

“Nigeria is not the only voice agitating against it, in fact Senegal is very strongly speaking against it, Cape Verde, and other countries are also against it.

“What they (AU) do was to set up a committee to elaborate a strategy for collective withdrawal.

“And after, Senegal took the floor, Nigeria took the floor, Cape Verde and some other countries made it clear that they were not going to subscribe to that decision,” he said.

According to him, a number of countries also took the floor to say that they needed time to study it before they acceded to that position.

He said that Zambia, Tanzania, Liberia, Botswana and host of others were not willing to withdraw from the court.

While faulting AU position on ICC, Onyeama stressed that each individual country willingly acceded to the 1998 Rome Statue on the setting up of the court.

“Each country free and willingly acceded to the Treaty, and not all of the members of the AU acceded, each country acceded individually exercising its own sovereign right.

“So each country, if they want to withdraw has the right to do that individually,

“The issue is that the AU which was not a party to the Rome Statues which established the court, should not be developing a strategy for a collective withdrawal for something that each country entered into individually.

“Those who feel they want to withdraw should do that individually.”

NAN reports that in what seems to be a continental domino effect, three African states in 2016 publicly declared their intention to withdraw from the court.

The countries include Brundi, South Africa and The Gambia, with the reports that Namibia, Kenya and Uganda were contemplating withdrawing from the ICC

The court has repeatedly been criticized by African states as an inefficient, neo-colonial institution of the Western powers to try African countries.

This argument is supported by the fact that nine of the ten situations under investigation, with three others under preliminary investigations, involve African countries.

However, as noted from a social shorthand by the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), “the rift is often caused by a neat difference in priorities.

“Where one gives more importance to peace processes, while the other gives more weight to obtaining [international] justice.”

African state parties to the Rome Statute make up the biggest regional membership, comprising 34 of the 124 members.

From 2009, African countries have called for collective withdrawal from the ICC but some countries have pushed back.

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  • westman

    Why running away from the law?

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  • Prince Awele Odor

    Nigerian government has ALWAYS frustration the achievement of true sovereignty and independence by African governments and nations while it should lead action intended to achieve these for African governments and nations.

    About the ICC:

    The ICC (International Criminal Court) was established for the whole world governments, including the USA government, concerning war crimes, because of the failure of the World Court to deal with the war crimes of the USA government. The USA government objected to its Article 98, Rome Status, refused to sign its binding agreement, wrote its own binding Article 98, and got Nigeria to help it get other countries to object to the ICC and sign its document. These did effectively submitting their sovereignty and independence to the authority and political interest of the USA government and not to the authority and impartial global interest of the ICC. The ICC has since been used against African governments, sometimes engineered by the USA. Therefore, why not get out of it and establish one for African governments?

    • Andy Andrew

      It will not be done because we are led by those who do not have the vaguest idea of what National Interest means, so they submit themselves to the whims of foreign governments with no real benefit for our people. That is the madness of our governments and those who are in the saddle of the govt.



      • Prince Awele Odor

        Pinco, my brother, refer to: “Therefore, why not get out of it and establish one for African governments?”, last line

        The “Therefore” follows from the reason for the establishment of the ICC, how it was thwarted and what the ICC does now.

        I suggested the establishment of another body BY AFRICANS to deal with war crimes by African heads of government. This will deal with someone who behaves like Idi Amin. We have seen it happen to the former President of Gambia, carried out by the ECOWAS.

        But was there no politics over his protection of the business of Ugandans by the USA and several other governments, just as there was politics against Kwame Nkuruma over his nationalistic and patriotic ideas or philosophy and actions, including the nationalisation of US company?

        I mean, was Idi Amin as bad as Western media presented him to the world? I understand Trump is against the mass information media that report mischievously for money and means to end the corruption. Note that these never report any African government or affair truly.

        Idi Amin, as I remember, wanted to safeguard the business, jobs and economy of Ugandans against the acts of sabotage and by some Asian people and big western companies; true?

        If true, is that wrong or bad? Trump has given order for the building of the first wall that he promised to built and he really intends to keep illegal immigrants away from the USA. South Africans sent many Africans away and murdered many others to safeguard their jobs. Nigerians sent Ghanaians away some decades ago over increase in robbery and loss of jobs. Are these examples not comparable to what Idi Amin did?

  • sam yam

    They are CIA agents….what do you expect?