The African Union has expressed serious concerns against the International Criminal Court (ICC), urging it to drop cases against Kenyan leadership.
The demand came during a meeting of the 54-member bloc in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on Friday. Several African leaders asked the court to drop the proceedings against Kenya’s leadership and some other member states.
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who chairs a two-day meeting of the African Union in Addis Ababa, said the AU’s call on the UN Security Council to delay proceedings against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had fallen on deaf ears.
He also strongly condemned the court for treating Africa unfairly.
“The manner in which the [International Criminal] Court has been operating, particularly its unfair treatment of Africa and Africans, leaves much to be desired,” Ghebreyesus told ministers and delegates at the opening of the meeting, adding, “Far from promoting justice and reconciliation … the court has transformed itself into a political instrument. This unfair and unjust treatment is totally unacceptable.”
The meeting is mostly focused on AU’s relationship with the ICC. The bloc accuses The Hague-based tribunal of unfairly hunting African leaders for prosecution.
Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto is currently on trial on charges of crimes against humanity.
Ruto along with President Ohuru Kenyatta are accused of orchestrating post-election violence in 2007, which claimed around 1,200 lives.
Altogether, eight African leaders are currently under investigation by the ICC.
The ICC’s active cases all pertain to crimes against humanity committed in the African states of Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda and Kenya.
The African Union has long advocated the fostering of democratic rule in the continent, but has often fallen short with a number of long-serving leaders still clinging to power.