African leaders cautiously back strategy to quit global court
Aaron Maasho, Edmund Blair, Reuters, Feb 1 2007
ADDIS ABABA – African leaders have backed a “strategy of collective withdrawal” from the International Criminal Court (ICC), an African Union official said on Wednesday after this week’s African Union summit. The AU official told Reuters:
The leaders of AU member states endorsed the strategy of collective withdrawal, with reservations.
The strategy of collective withdrawal highlights broad antipathy towards the court among Africans who feel the ICC unfairly targets them. It has only ever charged Africans, notably the presidents of Kenya and Sudan. Almost a third of the ICC’s 124 members are African, and a withdrawal by a large number of them would cripple the court. South Africa, Gambia and Burundi signalled last year their intention to quit. A document seen by Reuters before the summit proposed a co-ordinated withdrawal unless the ICC was reformed. It was not immediately clear if the agreement reached at the AU summit was the same as the document circulated beforehand. It included a call for regionalisation of international law in reference to proposals for an African war crimes court.