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protected by AU feud with ICC
Nomalanga Moyo, SW Radio Africa
October 15, 2013
Union (AU) feud with the International Criminal Court (ICC) is providing
Robert Mugabe with another shield from possible prosecution for
crimes against humanity.
The feud was
on display this weekend, when a special summit was called by the
AU to discuss Africa’s continued relationship with the Hague
based court. Some AU members have accused the court of bias towards
the continent’s leadership, with the current prosecution of
Kenya’s leadership for crimes against humanity, and the outstanding
warrant of arrest for Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir for war crimes
A mass walkout
of the ICC, which was feared would happen at the special summit
in Ethiopia, never happened. Instead, African leaders proposed that
sitting heads of state across the continent be granted a blanket
amnesty from ICC prosecution.
has been criticised for seeking to protect a handful of Africa’s
most powerful people, and allowing widespread impunity to continue.
Such a move would shield not only Kenya’s leadership and al-Bashir,
but also Mugabe from answering for serious crimes.
openly backed calls for Africa’s withdrawal from the court,
which has been described as ‘unsurprising’ by analysts
and observers. Clifford Mashiri, a UK based political analyst and
former Zimbabwean diplomat, told SW Radio Africa that: “The
Zimbabwean leaders are afraid of being sent to the ICC for their
crimes. This is why they rigged the elections, to remain in power
and ensure there is no government in place that would help refer
these individuals to the ICC,” Mashiri said.
not a member of the ICC after refusing to ratify the Rome Statute,
which is the treaty that established the court. The court was set
up specifically to deal with genocide, crimes against humanity,
war crimes and crimes of aggression, if those atrocities are committed
in the 122 countries that signed the Rome Statute.
to this rule however, is that the ICC may have jurisdiction to investigate
and prosecute the crimes if its jurisdiction is authorised by the
United Nations (UN) Security Council. This precedent has previously
been set with the Darfur war –crimes case, which saw the UN
Security Council refer the case to the court, resulting in the arrest
warrant for al-Bashir.
This would in
theory pave the way for a similar situation in Zimbabwe, after the
Gukurahundi was officially declared a genocide in 2010. This development
means the ICC could prosecute Mugabe, if the matter was referred
by the UN Security Council.
said that the AU was “putting up a wall against victims of
violence and crimes against humanity,” by seeking to protect
heads of state from ICC prosecution.
that the AU is open to manipulation by Mugabe, who is treated as
a forefather of pan-Africanism. They are sympathetic to Mugabe.
So it is disturbing that victims are violence appear to be marginalised
by the AU,” Mashiri said.
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