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Kenya Adds Voice To African criticism Of International Court

THE International Criminal Court (ICC) shaken by the impending departure of three African countries came under fire at the UN general assembly on Monday.

Senegal and New Zealand called for talks between the ICC and the African Union following decisions to leave by Burundi, South Africa and Gambia.

Kenyan ambassador Tom Amolo did not say whether his country would join them but said his government was monitoring the withdrawals “with very keen interest.”

The Hague-based court has only ever charged Africans and its efforts to prosecute Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir seemingly beyond its jurisdiction as Sudan has not signed its founding document have created diplomatic incidents.

ICC president Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, presenting the court’s annual report to the assembly, said two trials are under way and another is set to start soon.

But Mr Amolo called the ICC’s “dismal output of tangible results … disheartening and simply confounding.”

He accused the court of having lower standards than national courts and warned that “something radical and urgent must be done if this court is to stand any chance of long-term survival as a viable and credible international institution.”

Mr Amolo said African countries “have tried to engage constructively” with the ICC with little success.

Tanzanian UN ambassador Tuvako Manongi said the court’s “particularly tumultuous relationship with Africa … has engendered fear of an African exodus from the court.”

“All too often avoidable misunderstandings, when left unattended or dismissed as inconsequential, grow into regrettable outcomes,” he said.

“Lectures and claims of high moral ground from outside the continent are unhelpful.”

European Union envoy Joao Vale de Almeida claimed: “The world needs the ICC, and the ICC needs all countries to support it.”


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