African leaders urge ICC to transfer charges

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Associated Press


ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — African leaders on Monday asked the International Criminal Court to transfer charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to the Kenyan legal system.

The African Union summit, which ended Monday in Addis Ababa, agreed to press the United Nations to move the charges against Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, to Kenya.

African leaders believe that the ICC prosecutions “have degenerated into some kind of race hunt” of Africans, African Union chairman Hailemariam Desalegn said Monday.

Kenyatta and Ruto both face trials later this year at the ICC in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity over allegations they helped orchestrate the tribal attacks that followed Kenya’s 2007 election, in which more than 1,000 people died.

Africa’s leaders, who are in the Ethiopian capital for a three-day summit to mark the 50th year anniversary of the founding of the continent-wide organization, voted Monday to endorse Kenya’s proposal that the ICC charges against Kenyatta and Ruto should instead be handled domestically in Kenya.

Last week the executive council of the AU, composed of African foreign ministers, approved the same proposal.

The Ethiopian prime minister charged that 99 percent of those indicted by the ICC are from Africa and he alleged that the ICC’s prosecutors intentionally target African leaders.

“The African leaders have to come to a consensus that the process the ICC is conducting in Africa has a flaw,” Hailemariam said. “The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity . but now the process has degenerated into some kind of race hunting. We object to that.”

The African Union leaders’ decision was criticized by Human Rights Watch.

“Five years after the post-election violence, Kenya’s authorities have repeatedly failed to live up to promises to hold those responsible to account in national trials,” said Elizabeth Evenson, senior international justice counsel at Human Rights Watch in Brussels, Belgium. “The African Union’s call to have the Kenya cases handled nationally should fool no one as to the prospects for meaningful justice in Kenya. Recent events at the Security Council and African Union underscore the need for the international community to redouble efforts to press Kenya to put politics aside and let the ICC’s cases run their independent judicial course.”

Ramtane Lamamra, head of the AU peace and security council, late Monday defended the AU leaders’ decision.

“This does not mean that Africa is for impunity . in this particular case you have the need to balance the overwhelming and overarching need for justice with equally important needs of democracy and respecting the freely expressed will of the people,” said Lamamra.

He said the U.N. Security Council should help end what he called the unfair and targeted prosecution of African leaders.

Lamamra said African leaders during the summit also endorsed proposals to immediately establish a standby military force to respond to crises in the continent. He said that 50 years after independence; it is regrettable that Africa’s security relies on foreign countries’ interventions, such as France’s current operations in Mali.

The force and its financing will be made from voluntary contributions of African countries, added Lamamra. Already South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia pledged to contribute to the force, according to the official.

Associated Press Video Journalist Andrew Njuguna contributed to this report from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. AP writer Mike Corder contributed from The Hague.



  1. the reason 99 percent of the accused is from Africa as the p.m of Ethiopia noted in his au meeting is because most of the crimes are done in Africa..who are you trying to confuse urself or the world at large

    • Whu these leaders are wasing their valuable time on ICC case? Because they are mostly criminal and knowa that if ICC is strengthen the will go to jail including the Ethiopian officials.

  2. Where was ICC when millions non Amhara Ethiopians systematically mass genocided by the Amahara Dominated Governments for the past 69 years ????? The Amahar governments sown the. Seed of mistrust,division and hate among Ethiopians when they start oppressing and enslaving Oromos and mass genociding Eritreans and Tigreans in the stealth of ideology and nationalism. It is not by accident that these three tribe groups directly and indirectly targeted for the 60 plus years by the Amhara governments, it was well concocted plan to weaken and destroy non Amharas in order to preserve Mono tribal (Amaharas) sociopolitical dominance.

    • i dont know how old you are but you are a lair i dont know what you are going to get by lying like that and you called your self southern no you are not fulling no one woyane we know your tactic for you to stay on power there is nothing you cant say Ethiopia and her children live forever the only thing you know blaming amhara well amhara is the one who gave you ethiopia by shading his precious blood in case you dont know beside blaming amhara what did you did for Ethiopia? but the history of amhara it,s all over the world in a distinguished university shelf seating as proud african history that is what amhara were but i will congratulates you for your freedom if you think you are free now but i dont think you know what freedom is

  3. Southerner,

    The discussion was about African leaders and ICC has not yet accuse Hailemariam (the southerner you are concerned about) of crimes against humanity. Even if whatever you bubble is true, current crimes cannot be justifications for past misdeeds. The problem you might have is you have a blind hatred for the Amharas and that is only because you know what you have been told, you have no idea about Ethiopian history or the sacrifices paid by its people. Do you think killing or displacing a poor Amhara farmer can be justified? Think again, you might be the next victim.

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