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African leaders discuss 'collective' withdrawal from ICC

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African leaders discuss 'collective' withdrawal from ICC

31st January 2017

By: News24Wire

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African leaders are set to mull a motion that will recommend all 34 of the 55 African Union (AU) member states that are part of the International Criminal Court, withdraw from it.

The discussion is set to be on the table on Tuesday, on the final day of the AU heads of states assembly. Last week’s meeting of foreign ministers discussed the matter in detail, and came up with eight recommendations, the last of it being that the AU adopts a strategy for withdrawal.

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South Africa is one of the countries supporting such a withdrawal “to send a political message of Africa being fed up”, a South African official with information about this country’s position said.

South Africa and Burundi have already started taking steps to withdraw from the court while Kenya is among the countries that have led the charge. The Gambia has done the same, but is likely to reverse this after the election of its new president.

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Nigeria has, however, indicated that it would not support such a strategy and that this was opposed by several countries in last week’s meeting.

Foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama reportedly said should countries wish to withdraw, they should do so individually because they joined individually.

He claimed Cape Verde, Senegal, Zambia, Tanzania, Liberia and Botswana did not support a withdrawal from the court. Chad foreign minister Moussa Faki Mahamat’s election as AU commission chairperson might also scupper such a strategy. Mahamat has in the past supported the war-crimes court, while Kenyan foreign minister Amina Mohamed, who narrowly lost out against Mahamat, has been a strong opponent of the court.

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