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From FM News, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 12 2010- The International Centre for Transitional Justice says it is unlikely that African Union member states will support the call by Kenya to withdraw from the Rome Statute which establishes the International Criminal Court . The Head of the ICTJ Kenya Office Njonjo Mue ruled out a case of a bloc withdrawal by African countries which form the largest members to the court.

“Although the AU has its issues with the refusal of the ICC to defer the Bashir indictment, African states have not individually said they have a problem, so they will withdraw but it is awaited to be seen what the game plan is,” he told Capital News.

This comes in the wake of reports that the Government has sent ministers to lobby different African countries to support its efforts to have the six Kenyans named by the International Criminal Court tried locally. Only this week, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka met Presidents Jacob Zuma and Yoweri Museveni over the issue and is expected to travel to Malawi with only two weeks left before African Union Heads of State meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for an AU summit.

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Read Full Report at: http://www.issafrica.org/pgcontent.php?UID=30455

Intro to Report:

This African expert study on the African Union’s (AU) concerns about article 16 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeks to articulate a clearer picture of the law and politics of article 16 deferrals within the context of the AU’s repeated calls to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to invoke article 16 to suspend the processes initiated by the ICC against President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan. The lack of a formal reply by the UNSC to the AU request has resulted in AU member states deciding to withhold cooperation from the ICC in respect of the arrest and surrender of Bashir. In light of the AU’s continued concerns, questions have arisen about the UNSC’s exercise of the controversial deferral power contained in article 16. This culminated in the AU proposing that article 16 be amended to empower the UN General Assembly to act should the UNSC fail to decide on a deferral request after six months.

Although states parties to the Rome Statute have shown little support for the AU’s proposed amendment to article 16, the merits of the AU proposal must be considered. A failure to engage with African government concerns about the deferral provision could further damage the ICC’s credibility in Africa. Constructive suggestions about the ‘article 16 problem’ must be developed in order to contribute towards resolving the negative stance that some African countries have taken towards the ICC. The challenge is to devise both legally sound and politically palatable options. For many Africans, the ICC’s involvement in Sudan has come to reflect the skewed nature of power distribution within the UNSC and global politics. The result is that the uneven political landscape of the post-World War II collective security regime has become a central problem of the ICC.

It is also important to pay attention to the AU’s concerns and its request for an article 16 deferral of the Bashir indictment because the matters underlying the tension – how ICC prosecutions may be reconciled with peacemaking initiatives and the role and power of the UNSC in ICC business – are likely to arise in the future with respect to other situations. Solutions must be found to problems that may arise in working out the relationship between the UNSC and the ICC. The study therefore makes practical suggestions about how to resolve the concerns raised within certain African government circles and other developing nations about the relationship between the UNSC and the ICC, and the relationship between the ICC and peacemaking initiatives of governments and regional organisations.

 

 

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VOA New Aug 29 2010

Kenya has rejected international criticism over the inclusion of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Friday’s Promulgation Day festivities.  The east African nation has defended its actions as necessary for regional stability and national security.

At a news conference in Nairobi, members of the Kenyan government defended the decision to invite controversial Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir to the Friday signing of the country’s new constitution.  The International Criminal Court has issued two warrants for Mr. Bashir under allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.

Kenya, a signatory to the court, was blasted by the international community for failing to arrest Mr. Bashir and present him to The Hague.

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ICC Asks for UN Action

VOA News Aug 28 2010

The International Criminal Court is asking the U.N. Security Council to take action against Kenya for hosting Sudan’s president in defiance of international warrants for his arrest.

ICC judges in The Hague said Friday Kenya has a “clear obligation” as a member of the court to cooperate in enforcing its arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Mr. Bashir was one of several regional leaders who traveled to Nairobi for Friday’s ceremonial signing of the new Kenyan constitution.  Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula says Mr. Bashir was invited because he is the head of a friendly neighboring state.

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More Stories:

Daily Nation

BBC on Kenya Constitution Signing

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Alfred Wandera, Daily Nation , June 9 2010

President of the Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court has insisted that Uganda must arrest Sudan President Omar al-Bashir should he visit the country during the AU summit due in Kampala in July.

In a statement released yesterday to media at the ongoing ICC Review Conference in Kampala, Mr Christian Wenaweser said since Uganda is a party to the Rome Statute, it has to fulfil its mandate as stipulated in the Statute.

“I’m looking forward to seeing a statement from the Ugandan government that is less equivocal than what we have seen over the past few days. What’s important from our perspective is Uganda is a state party to the Rome Statute so it has an obligation to fully cooperate with the provisions of that statute and we would like to see a statement to that affect,” Mr Wenaweser’s statement reads in part.

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International Herald Tribune- May 26 2010

On Monday, members of the International Criminal Court gather in Kampala, Uganda, to consider whether to amend the Court’s statute to allow it to exercise jurisdiction over the crime of “aggression.” Previous articles on these pages have argued that the crime is too vague and should be rejected (Michael J. Glennen, April 6), and that criminal responsibility for the illegal use of armed force would make international law more credible (Noah Weisbord, May 4).

By Richard Goldstone

Based on my experience as an international prosecutor, and speaking as a strong supporter of the International Criminal Court, I think it would be a mistake to add the crime of aggression to the Court’s docket now. The issue should be deferred again.

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OTJR has recently produced a new debate series on International Justice In Africa: http://www.csls.ox.ac.uk/otjr.php?show=currentDebate10.

Contributions Include:

11. International Criminal Justice and Non-Western Cultures

12 April 2010 by Tim Kelsall

As the ICC Review Conference nears, it is time to consider how best to create a form of international criminal justice that is culturally and socially appropriate in non-Western settings.

10. Peace, Justice, and the International Criminal Court

19 March 2010 by Sara Darehshori and Elizabeth Evenson

This paper argues that justice initiatives, and the ICC’s work in particular, do not seriously impede peace processes. The paper shows instead that remaining firm on justice yields short- and long-term benefits that contribute toward peacebuilding.

9. What the ICC Review Conference Can’t Fix

15 March 2010 by Adam Branch

8. Root and Branch, Tree of Life: Sowing the Seeds of Grassroots Transitional Justice

10 March 2010 by Andrew Iliff

7. The Standoff between ICC and African Leaders Debate Revisited

10 March 2010 by Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai

6. The Contribution African States Can Make to the ICC Review Conference

10 March 2010 by Valentina Torricelli

5. Understanding Africa’s Position on the International Criminal Court

10 March 2010 by by Comfort Ero

4. The Limits of Prosecutions

10 March 2010 by Okechukwu Oko

3. Inside the Minds of the ICC Judges: Will They Give Ocampo the Benefit of the Doubt in Kenya?

10 March 2010 by Lionel Nichols

2. A Note on State Policy and Crimes Against Humanity

10 March 2010 by Larry May

1. International Justice in Africa – Debate Summary

10 March 2010 by Lydiah Kemunto-Bosire

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By Colum Lynch, Washington Post, 30 June 2009

….

At issue is how to strike a balance between the quest for justice in Darfur and the pursuit of a political settlement to end an ongoing civil war in the western region of Sudan. In recent months, African and Arab leaders have said the Argentine lawyer’s pursuit of the Sudanese president has undercut those peace prospects.

Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and Gabon’s Jean Ping, the two leaders of the African Union, are mounting a campaign to press African states to withdraw from the treaty body that established the international tribunal. “The attacks against the court by African and Arab governments in the last nine months are the most serious threat to the ICC” since the United States declared its opposition to it in 2002, said William Pace, who heads the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, an alliance of 2500 organizations.

Moreno-Ocampo defended his work in a lengthy interview, saying that his office offers the brightest hope of bringing justice to hundreds of thousands of African victims and halting mass murder in Darfur. “It is normal: When you prosecute people with a lot of power, you have problems,” said Moreno-Ocampo, who first gained prominence by prosecuting Argentine generals for ordering mass murder in that country’s “dirty war.”

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