Home | News    Wednesday 10 June 2009

African countries back away from ICC withdrawal demand

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June 8, 2009 (WASHINGTON) – More than 30 African countries which are members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have failed to agree on a mass withdrawal from the court during their meetings in the Ethiopian capital.

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International Criminal Court

The proposed move was to be in a protest of an arrest warrant issued by the ICC for Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir last March in connection with war crimes committed in Darfur.

Furthermore African politicians accuse the court of unfairly targeting its statesmen while not looking at human rights abuses elsewhere.

The ICC is currently handling 4 cases consisting of Uganda, Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Darfur.

With the exception of Darfur all other cases have been referred voluntarily by their respective governments to the ICC for investigation.

The move drew a strong rebuke from the African Union (AU) despite comprising the majority of the court members. The ICC is governed by the Rome Statute that entered into force in 2002. Since then more than 108 countries have ratified the treaty.

The UNSC issued resolution 1593 under chapter VII in March 2005 referring the situation in Darfur to the ICC. At the time Tanzania and Benin voted in support of the resolution while Algeria abstained.

Sudan has lobbied African countries to withdraw their ratification of the treaty as a show of solidarity while some Sudanese officials have said that they hope such action would weaken The Hague based court.

But the meetings that convened in Addis Ababa this week to discuss withdrawal took a different turn when most African countries favored asking the UN Security Council (UNSC) to suspend the case against Bashir instead of unsigning the Rome Statute.

“They will reach a consensus and ask for the warrant against al-Bashir to be deferred for some time,” a diplomat told Reuters.

“But an en masse withdrawal will not happen,” he added.

Diplomats told Reuters only Libya, Senegal, Djibouti and the Comoros had lobbied their peers for a withdrawal from the court.

Libya is not a member of the ICC but is believed to have persistently pushed African signatories to withdraw. The Libyan leader Muammar Khadafy described the ICC as a “terrorist organization” following Bashir’s indictment.

Senegal was one of the earliest signatories of the Rome Statute depositing its instrument of ratification in 1999.

Last year the Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade told his Sudanese counterpart during a phone conversation that he would not be able to offer him refuge if there is an arrest warrant for him.

Wade speaking from Chicago told Senegal News Agency (APS) that he informed Al-Bashir that they are party to the ICC and they cannot “make an exception”.

Furthermore, Senegal assisted the ICC in its investigation of the attack by Darfur rebel commanders on AU peacekeepers in 2007.

Djibouti and Comoros Island, both ICC members, have publicly announced that they will not honor their obligations under the Rome Statute and would host Bashir without apprehending him.

It is likely that African ICC members are more concerned about the risk of losing access to millions of dollars in aid from the European Union (EU) as some bilateral agreement link it to ratification of the Rome Statute.

(ST)

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  • 10 June 2009 07:24, by Kur

    I think time is running out for Imam Bashir as his supporters in the AU are losing ground in front of the glaring facts.It would be a double standard for African countries to betray the women and children of Darfur who have been the victims of rape and killing. If the ICC member countries from the AU withdraw from the court in defend of Bashir, what benefit is it to them? That is totally naive.

    Kur

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    • 10 June 2009 07:53, by Ajuscommando

      Thanks to African countries who had refused withdrawal arrest warrant from president Omer Bashir due to war crime he has committed in Dafur. The fact should remain that Bashir has killed more three million people in Sudan in many part of the country special South Sudan and Dafur due to discrimination from Arabs. Bashir has not treated people of Sudan equal so I concur with African ICC members and court by itself. I believe there will be no change without justice in Sudan and many part of Africa because of mass killing of civilian.
      I can said time has come for the thief to face justice in Sudan and other part of the world and Bashir must to agree to go for an investigation of his accusation of war crime since there is no smoke without fire so that war victim will be free from stress and let Bashir face the same stress with his relatives.

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      • 10 June 2009 08:43, by william wol

        Thanks to those African countries who denied the withdrawal from ICC membership. It would be inlogic to withdraw from justice court because of murderer (bashir)!! Being a leader does not means massacring of innocents no leader without leds Therefore,bashir should be accounted for his own deeds without any defend from African countries unless those who like inhuman acts, so did him.

        Those who hosted bashir after arrest warrant are criminals as well. The AU can not achieves it objectives by killing their own fellows cillian, so then whoever supporting bashir is also wanted to face ICC not later than this yaer.

        Willam Wol Mayuol

        Thanks

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    • 10 June 2009 10:15, by kuur Deng

      The message was short and clear,African leaders were protecting Beshir simply because of so called conflicts of interest and lack of insight.This is the right time they should know that Beshir must face his criminal offensive against civilian and whoever when to defense him must face the same crimes otherwise God is watching and the lives of innocents claims!
      Thanks

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  • 10 June 2009 10:02, by Sala Gai

    Dear African country

    Of course all African presidents commit crisis in their countries so they not Calibrate with ICC due to the same ideology .

    Shame on them African countries

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    • 10 June 2009 12:30, by Nyundo1

      Dear Readers,
      Its good news to some of us to hear some African Countries backing away the foolish thought of withdrawing for the Court.
      To hit the nail on the head, what most of our African Leaders put before hand is their self defense. By rallying behind Omar Bashir, they mean to cover their own wrong doings that they have done and are still doing in their respective Countries. They think that, if Bashir is apprehended today, which must happen, they in turn will follow the same route since most of them have more or less, the same records of the crimes committed by Omer Bashir.
      All in all, a farmer goes into his/her farm for planting and weeding with the hope that he/she will reap the harvest that he had worked for. Therefore, Omer Bashir was in the farm all these years farming and now time had come for him to harvest his own.

      You who call yourselves, Presidents/Leaders of Africa/AU, can your own son set looted money on fire and leave him to get away with? Leave alone killing, raping, torturing among others. Why you are so blind folded by the money that Omer gives you?
      Withdrawing your membership from the Court in Protest against the arrest warrant for Omer Bashir is an Ultimate Act of THE MOST FOOLISH PERSON IN THE WORLD and this is what some of you are trying to do.
      A criminal is criminal, whether he/she is your husband/wife, father/mother, brother/sister, and he MUST face the Law so that justice is done to him/her and to the recipients/ Victims of his deeds.
      The Court investigated the crimes in good faith and proved that some crimes had been committed. But still some Leaders, the like of Djibouti’s and Comoros Island’s talk of not honoring their obligations under the Rome Statue in support of Bashir forgetting that they are leaders of their Countries but not leaders of their own houses. If it is true that Omer Bashir is innocent of the charges, why then protesting instead of encouraging him to present himself to the court and proves himself innocent. We all know that one is considered innocent until proven guilty by the Court.
      My fellow Africans and leaders, let us not generalize the facts and blindly publicize that the ICC as a tool being used by the West in targeting African leaders to Re-Colonize Africa. That is a very naïve way of thinking. Why are African leaders being targeted if they are doing the right things?
      The money that Omer Bashir is bribing you with belongs to the whole Sudan, NOT his salary or personal money. Many are suffering from minor illnesses that can be easily treated but they are not getting the treatment because that money which is supposed to be used in paying the Doctors, buying the medicines and renovating hospitals is being used by Omer to bribe you so as to bark and cheat the public on his behalf.
      Shame on you!!!!!

      I congratulate the African Countries that re-thought and stood their grounds for justice to take it course with Omer Bashir for his destiny is to face justice, not deferral, barking, protesting and lying in public.

      Thanks to Boswana’ Government for the stand taken.

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      • 10 June 2009 13:37, by Makol Dhal

        Shame to African Countries who failed to respect what they themselves enacted as a international law for humanity.thank to governments of Botswana,S,Africa and Senagal for courageous descion. rape,murder are criminal act cases that should be invistigated and brought to justice.

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        • 10 June 2009 14:43, by Gis Klans

          The beginning of the "end of things" is starting.

          There’s no wonder, Bahir only visits countries whose presidents are in favor of him. one day he’d find himself testifying before the ICC, and see, who among his fellas, are going to sacrifice one of their testacles to be hung on his behalf,or who’s goning to accept share the pain? Bashir is as guilty as hell.

          Well, application of other methodology can as well have him arrested regardless of how many lives are going to be affected. This is already in process.

          So, take care.

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          • 11 June 2009 06:23, by Thyinka

            When all is said and done, it will come down to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr(he is one of my heroes, by the way, as heroes go) quotes: “When our days become dreary with low hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

            Bashir will have his day in court. Unfortunately his victims who may be long dead never had that chance but it will still be a testimony of the moral universe.

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            • 12 June 2009 08:39, by ojok s. ojok

              All African presidants share the same behaviours towards their citizens. In terms of treatment or whatever happening in those countries who are encountring wars and instabilty. Leave alone south sudan, we can fight back any time he casues us. But how about the people of darfur who thought they are the same muslim who use to support Bashir. These African coutries must reason and think about the loss of human being; they shauld not abandon darfur people because they are helpless.

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