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As the extraordinary summit of the African Union came to a conclusion, African head-of-states came to an agreement that the AU will not accept any charges made by the International Criminal court (ICC) against African leaders.
After the declaration that no senior government officials should appear before the ICC was made, Amnesty International condemned the decision as deplorable.
The declaration was made at an Extraordinary Summit of the AU after discussions on the question of Africa’s relationship with the ICC in Addis Ababa on 11 and 12 October.
“This declaration sends the wrong message, that politicians on the African continent will place their political interests above those of victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide,” said Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Law and Policy.
The summit called for the deferral of the ICC trials of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto by the UN Security Council, and set up a contact group made up of the AU Executive Council to take up the matter with the Council. The Sudanese foreign minister, Ali Karti, blamed the absence of certain nations from the summit and for the failure of the AU to call for a mass withdrawal from the ICC.
Participants included Sudanese president Omar Hassan al Bashir and Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta who have both been indicted by the ICC.
Unlike Bashir, the Kenyan president along with his deputy William Ruto have so far committed to cooperating with The Hague-based court which charged them with crimes against humanity in connection with the 2007-2008 post-election violence.