The African Union has cried foul, to seeming bias, demonstrated by the International Criminal Court, toward African Heads of States.
Addressing the summit, Mr. Kenyatta accused the court of bias and “race-hunting”, AFP reports.”The ICC has been reduced into a painfully farcical pantomime, a travesty that adds insult to the injury of victims. It stopped being the home of justice the day it became the toy of declining imperial powers.”
“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 proceedings can be instituted,” Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s foreign minister told a news conference.
The AU leaders, meeting in Addis Ababa, agreed to back immunity for any sitting African head of state. The African Union summit in Ethiopia has demanded a deferral of The Hague trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, due to start in November.
According to Mark Kersten’s (London School of Economics researcher, who set up the Justice in Conflict blog) word to the BBC, “The Kenyatta and Ruto trials have brought tensions to a head.” “The perception that the court is neo-colonialist and anti-African has burgeoned and solidified [in the AU].”
Though the AU has amongst others agreed on a resolution stating no sitting African head of state should appear before an international court, senior figures including Kofi Annan have criticized plans to quit the ICC.
All the same, Ethiopian Prime Minister and AU chairman Hailemariam Dessalegn said the summit was not a crusade against the ICC but a call for the court to address Africa’s concerns seriously.