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Business Daily : October 15th 2013
12 BUSINESS DAILY | Tuesday October 15, 2013 alist and anti-African has burgeoned and solidi- fied (in the AU).” Significantly, South Africa, a major power-bro- ker in the AU, which has been reticent to publicly criticise the ICC up to now, has joined the fray. The governing African National Congress (ANC) accused the court of staging a “judicial coup” by insisting that Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto be present throughout their trials, rather than only at the initial and final stages. “There is clear evidence that the ICC is used more to effect regime change in the majority of cases,” it said. Though South Africa was a staunch advocate of the ICC’s creation, its position is now closer to that of neighbouring Zimbabwe, which has always been a fierce opponent of the court. “President Mugabe sees the court as a tool of imperialists. He believes that Tony Blair and George Bush should be in the dock for the war in Iraq,” Mr Grudz said. “He is charismatic and dynamic and has clout in the AU. He can often change the game.” In contrast, only small southern African states such as Botswana, Lesotho and Mauritius are firm supporters of the ICC. In North Africa, there is even less support for the ICC with only Tunisia recognising its jurisdiction. But with the region in turmoil following the uprising against long-serv- ing rulers, Mr Grudz said he does not expect it to play an influential role at the summit. Of the AU’s 54 members, 34 have ratified the Rome Statute which established the ICC. “It’s not unusual for states to wear two masks, to engage with the ICC when it suits them and to criticise it when it doesn’t,” Mark Kersten UK legal analyst. Significantly, the AU has failed to improve its relations with the ICC since the ap- pointment of Gambian lawyer Fatou Bensouda as chief prosecutor last year. This is despite the fact that it had lobbied for Ms Bensouda to become the ICC’s first African chief prosecutor, succeed- ing Argentina’s Louis Moreno Ocampo. “The ICC made overtures to set up a liaison of- fice in Addis Ababa, but it was rebuffed by the AU,” Mr Grudz said. One of the AU’s main criticisms of the ICC is that it has only prosecuted Africans, suggesting that it is pursuing selective justice. However, Mr Kersten pointed out that the ICC is carrying out investigations in other parts of the world, including Georgia and Colombia, although no-one has yet been charged there. Charges have only been laid in eight coun- tries — all in Africa: The Central African Repub- lic; Democratic Republic of Congo; Ivory Coast; Kenya; Libya; Sudan and Uganda. “In a lot of theses cases, the ICC intervened after referrals to it by governments,” Mr Kersten said. “It’s not unusual for states to wear two masks, to engage with the ICC when it suits them and to criticise it when it doesn’t. It’s all very political.” A good example of this is Uganda, which asked the ICC to investigate the rebellion waged in the north by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) — a move that led to the court issuing an arrest war- rant for the group’s leader, Joseph Kony. But at Mr Kenyatta’s inauguration as Kenya’s leader in April this year, Uganda’s President Yow- eri Museveni said he no longer supported the ICC because it was being used by “arrogant actors” who were trying to “install leaders of their choice in Africa and eliminate those they don’t like”. In contrast, Ghana’s President John Mahama With Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta under pressure to appear at the Inter- national Criminal Court next month to answer charges of crimes against humanity, the African Union (AU) called a special summit last weekend to discuss Africa’s relationship with the court. BBC Africa’s Farouk Chothia reports. The AU is heavily divided over the ICC, with East African leaders facing strong resist- ance from their West African counterparts in their campaign to whip up hostility towards the court. Opposition towards the 11-year-old ICC runs deepest in East Africa —not surprising as two of the region’s presidents — Sudan’s Omar al-Ba- shir and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta—have been indicted, while Kenya’s Deputy President Wil- liam Ruto is already on trial on charges of crimes against humanity. “There are strong passions around the issue. The ICC has been on the agenda of every AU sum- mit since Mr Bashir’s indictment,” Steven Gruzd, an analyst with the South African Institute of In- ternational Affairs, told the BBC. “The countries that are most vocal in their opposition to the ICC are in East Africa —Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. West African countries like Nigeria and Ghana are more supportive of the court,” he said. Breaking ties The AU called an extraordinary summit on Fri- day and Saturday, in an attempt to ratchet up pressure on the ICC ahead of Mr Kenyatta’s trial next month. Despite widespread speculation that the sum- mit was to consider calling on all 34 African states to pull out of the ICC, Kenya’s Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said on Wednesday that it was “quite naive” to think that leaders would “come together with the sole aim” of breaking ties with the court. Mr Ruto’s and Mr Kenyatta’s trials are unprecedented — they are the first serving lead- ers to be tried by an international court. Mr Ruto had to ask for his trial to be ad- journed, so he could return home to deal with the recent Westgate shopping centre terror at- tack. He was given a week’s delay — less than he had requested. “In advanced countries, sitting presidents are not hauled before courts. It’s for the courts to wait for the president to finish their terms before pro- ceedings can be instituted,” Ms Mohamed told a news conference. Like Mr Ruto, Mr Kenyatta is accused of or- ganising violence after disputed elections in 2007, OPPOSITION East Africa leaders face strong resistance from their West African counterparts in campaign to whip up hostility towards court Why Af≥ican states a≥e divided on ICC NEWS INDEPTH African Heads of State during the AU special summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the weekend. PSCU THE ICC Set up in 2002 Based in The Hague, the Netherlands Deals with genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression Court has been ratified by 121 countries, including 34 in Africa Chief Prosecutor is Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian Democratic Republic of Congo militia leader Thomas Lubanga is the only person to be convicted so far . Investigating cases in Uganda, DR Congo, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Kenya, Libya, Mali and Ivory Coast Source: ICC factsheet leaving some 1,100 people dead and 600,000 homeless. Both deny the charges, and won in elections in March this year, with their supporters ignoring warnings by the US of “consequences” if they were propelled to power. Mr Bashir, accused of genocide in Darfur, has refused to stand trial, as Sudan, unlike Kenya, does not recognise the ICC’s jurisdiction. His indictment in 2008 led to relations be- tween the 54-member AU and the ICC plummet- ing, with the AU calling on countries to ignore an ICC arrest warrant for Mr Bashir, claiming that he enjoyed presidential immunity and that putting him on trial could jeopardise peace ef- forts in Darfur. “The Kenyatta and Ruto trials have brought tensions to a head,” London School of Economics researcher Mark Kersten, who set up the Justice in Conflict blog, told the BBC. “The perception that the court is neo-coloni- Whyheisontherun Accusations against Omar al-Bashir Killing members of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups. Causing these groups serious bodily or mental harm. Inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about these groups’ physical destruction. Crimes against humanity Murder. Extermination. Forcible transfer. Rape. Torture. War crimes. Attacks on civilians in Darfur . Pillaging towns, villages.
October 14th 2013
January 22nd 2014