Africa intelligence chiefs unite to protect international law

African intelligence and security services chiefs have called for temporary suspension of all pending arrest warrants and prosecutions filed against African leaders and high ranking officials until discussions are held among stakeholders to resolve the stalemate.
Participants follow proceedings during the CISSA meeting in Kigali last week. / Timothy Kisambira.
Participants follow proceedings during the CISSA meeting in Kigali last week. / Timothy Kisambira.

African intelligence and security services chiefs have called for temporary suspension of all pending arrest warrants and prosecutions filed against African leaders and high ranking officials until discussions are held among stakeholders to resolve the stalemate.

This was part of the declaration following a week-long Conference of the Committee of Intelligence (CISSA) in Kigali that attracted Chiefs of Intelligence Services from 51 African countries.

Among other items on agenda, the meeting deliberated on how African countries have fallen victim to abuse of international law.

The Conference was held under the theme, “Countering the Growing threat of Abuse of Universal Jurisdiction against Africa.”

Participants expressed concern on the negative implications of growing abuse of universal jurisdiction on African states’ sovereignty, dignity and security.

In a joint declaration, they said they were alarmed by the growing rate at which selective indictments and threats were issued against African leaders.

“We are alarmed by the rate at which selective indictments and threats of arrest warrants by the so called ‘Independent’ western judges and courts threaten to reverse our strides towards stability, undermines sovereignty of targeted parties, creates tension between communities and nation states; inflicts suffering to the citizens of targeted states due to unilateral imposition of sanctions,” the declaration reads in part. 

The intelligence chiefs noted that it was further alarming that laws which had been formulated to serve international good were now being used as tools to enhance the interests and foreign policies of a few states.

Going forward, the countries pledged to deploy collective efforts against the threats.

“Member services reaffirm to the pledge to deploy collective efforts to confront the growing threat of abuse of international jurisdiction,” the declaration says.

Pacts at the meeting

Among the partnerships agreed upon was that member states seeking to invoke the principle of universal jurisdiction ought to consult the concerned states before indicting their nationals. 

The countries also agreed to explore practical mechanisms of ensuring the respect of international law, particularly the immunity of state officials when applying the principle of universal jurisdiction.

The meeting also took note of article 98 of the Rome Statutes and expressed concern on the signing of supplementary agreements which undermine the applicability of international law in favour of some “powerful countries.”

The CISSA member countries went on to reiterate their resolve to timely share intelligence on international NGO’s and media organisations with malicious activities.

“Member services equally denounce criminalisation and dehumanisation propagated by these INGO’s against Africans,” the declaration further reads.

Speaking at the official opening of the forum, last week, Brig Gen Joseph Nzabamwita, the secretary-general of the National Intelligence and Security Service, described the abuse of international law as an emerging threat which threatens the sovereignty of African countries.

Sharing the experience of Rwanda, he said the country has been victimised severally, especially beginning 2006 when 40 former and current officials were indicted by Spanish and French judges.

On several occasions, rather than bring Genocide perpetrators and deniers living in their countries to justice, some Western countries continue to target those who stopped the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The meeting also looked into current and emerging threats as well as ways to have early warning system by disseminating and sharing information.

During the meet’s opening, Erastus Mwencha, deputy chairperson of the African Union, said it came at a time when Africa is at crossroads where recent developments present security challenges.

Among the crimes and threats that should be curbed fast, he said, include terrorism, drug and human trafficking, kidnappings, economic crimes and cyber crimes, noting that technology would be a big enabler in fighting the vices. 

The next CISSA meeting will be held in Nigeria next year.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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