African leaders meet to discuss ICC concerns, South Sudan

July 16, 2016 6:55 pm

This July 16, 2016 photo released
by the United Nations shows Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second from
right) arriving in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, to attend the 27th
African Union (AU) Summit.

African leaders arrived in
the Rwandan capital Saturday to attend a major summit which is expected
to be dominated by discussions about excessive focus of international
bodies on abuses in and the conflict in South .

Heads of state gathered in Kigali in preparations for the 27th African Union (AU) Summit, which is going to open Sunday.
The
main theme of discussion is expected to be Africa’s uneasy relationship
with the International Criminal Court (ICC) as some countries have
renewed efforts to quit the body en masse despite opposition by some
countries such as Botswana.
Leaders have repeatedly criticized the
ICC over the past years for what they call an unnecessary ICC focus on
African nations. They have called for a separate African court with
jurisdiction over rights abuses.
“Withdrawal from [the] ICC is
entirely within the sovereignty of a particular state,” Joseph Chilengi,
an AU official, told reporters.
Ugandan President Yoweri
Museveni, who has been a major campaigner for the withdrawal from the
ICC, recently called the court “useless.” However, the call seems to
have hit a major snag, as Nigeria, Senegal and Ivory Coast have followed
Botswana and pushed back as well.
Rwanda has invited Sudan’s
President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC for alleged war
crimes in the Darfur region. Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo
said the country would not arrest Bashir despite concerns that Kigali
would hand over the Sudanese leader like it did to war criminal Bosco
Ntaganda of Congo in 2013.
“Africa doesn’t support criminals, but
when justice is involved with a lot of we take a pause to
separate the two,” Mushikiwabo said this week.
Discussing the
fresh wave of conflict in , where deadly clashes have erupted
between army factions, is also high on the agenda at the AU summit. UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who is at the summit, has called for an
arms embargo as a solution to the conflict which has claimed a
considerable number of lives over the past days.
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