President Paul Kagame has urged fellow African leaders to collectively work together towards building the continent’s capacity to address criminal justice, in particular strengthening and supporting the Africa court of justice.
The Head of State was speaking at the African Union Assembly in Addis Ababa, yesterday. President Kagame pointed out that the International Criminal Court has failed to accomplish its responsibility to end impunity for serious crimes and promote reconciliation in post conflict societies as it is dogged by political interference and has ignored the principle of sovereign equality of states.
“The facts speak for themselves: all 28 of the indictments (a hundred percent, that is) issued by the ICC since it came into being eleven years ago have been directed at Africans,” Kagame said.“It is evident that political bias, control and flawed methodology are being deployed in the name of International Justice.
Yet ICC proponents are ostensibly deaf to the increasingly vocalcriticism against the court’s bias towards Africa.” While the President pointed out that it was a weakness on the part of Africans to have seen it (ICC’s bias) coming and expected otherwise, it is unacceptable. “Africa must stand up to it and refuse to be intimidated or bribed into silence and inaction on this matter,” Kagame said.
He added: “We cannot support an ICC that condemns crimes committed by some and not others or imposes itself on democratic processes or the will of sovereign people. Such a court cannot facilitate reconciliation which is a vital precursor to peace.”
President Kagame added his voice to the call to refer the ICC cases against Kenya’s President and Vice president back to the East African country.
“Kenya has the capacity and the legitimacy to prosecute perpetrators of the most serious crimes, including the post-electoral violence,” Kagame said.
“It is not in the interest of the ICC, the Security Council, the African continent and relationships between the three, to see further humiliation of African people and their leaders by an unfair criminal justice system.” President Kagame added: “We should support a common African position and action on the matter at this Summit and subsequently at the UN General Assembly.”
The first day of the African Union Summit was also marked by the follow up meeting to the United Nations Secretary General Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework on DRC. Commenting on the role of the framework, Minister Mushikiwabo reiterated Rwanda’s support for a political solution:
“The framework reaffirmed the importance of addressing the root causes of conflict in DRC through political dialogue,” the Minister said. Heads of State present ended the day by signing the African Union 2063 Proclaimation pledging their commitment to fulfilling the vision of a united and dignified Africa.