African leaders are forging ahead with proposals to set up their own regional court amid criticisms against the function of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The move comes as the African Union accuses the Hague-based ICC of anti-African bias and racism.
African Union director of legal affairs Vincent Nmehielle said the international body singles out African nations as the weakest in the world.
“The African Union … deserves the right to enact its own international law,” he said, adding, “We know the skewed nature of international criminal justice, the powerful versus the weak, and justice is only such that serves the powerful and not the weak.”
The development comes as the 54-nation organization agreed at its latest summit last month to grant sitting heads of state and senior government officials immunity from prosecution at the African Court for Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The row between the International Criminal Court and the African Union intensified after the ICC rejected a call for the deferral of criminal proceedings against a number of African officials, including Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
The ICC has charged Bashir with committing genocide during the seven-year conflict in Darfur, Sudan, while the Kenyan leaders face charges of crimes against humanity for allegedly inciting post-election violence that left over 1,000 people dead in late 2007. All of them deny the charges.
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