Home International Organisations Archive for category "The African Union"

Post-Election Crisis in The Gambia, the Security Council and the Threat of the Use of Force

Published on February 17, 2017        Author: 

The Gambian post-election crisis is a gem amongst cases relevant to the law on ius ad bellum – not only because it is a crisis that has been resolved with almost no bloodshed, but also because it offers valuable insights into the interaction between Security Council authorization, the doctrine of intervention by invitation, and the prohibition on the threat to use of force (see for some analysis here, here, here, or here).

Professor Hallo de Wolf has concluded that “the legality of the ECOWAS’ military intervention is dubious”. His analysis primarily focuses on the question of legality of the ECOWAS’ intervention after the inauguration of The Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow. However, his conclusion may be challenged if one is to read Security Council resolution 2337 (2017) as a non-prohibitive non-authorization, which indirectly opens and strengthens the alternative avenue of the doctrine of intervention by invitation . Elsewhere, I have evaluated this interpretation against State practice and the Council’s resolutions in the Syrian and Yemeni incidents and concluded that the consent of the new president, Barrow, may suffice to justify the military intervention in The Gambia.

If one is ready to follow this line of thought, a question arises as to the effect of the consent; what conduct is justified by the invitation? The post-election crisis in The Gambia, for which the course of events may be recalled here or here, entails temporal complications in this respect. The crisis can be divided in three phases: (1) pre- inauguration (Jammeh’s clinging to power up until the inauguration, and end of the ECOWAS’ ultimatum, 19 January 2017); (2) the time between passage of the ultimatum and official inauguration; (3) post- inauguration. Read the rest of this entry…

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The AU’s Extraordinary Summit decisions on Africa-ICC Relationship

Published on October 28, 2013        Author: 

Dr Solomon Ayele Dersso is a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, Addis Ababa and Adjunct Professor of Human Rights, College of Governance, Addis Ababa University.


The African Union (AU) Assembly, the highest decision making body of the continental organization, took a decision on Africa’sAfrican Union relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC) at its extraordinary summit held on 12 October 2013. In this commentary I wish to reflect on the details of the major points of the decision, their likely outcome and their implications with respect to a) the on-going Kenyan cases and b) immediate future of Africa-ICC relationship. (photo, African Union headquarters, credit)

As I will show below, the implication of the decision is that not only that Africa-ICC relationship is today worse than before the summit but also there is serious possibility that it would even get much worse.

Immediate context for the extraordinary summit

With the ascendance of Uhuru Kenyata and William Ruto to power in Kenya through generally free and fair elections taking advantage of the cases opened against them at the ICC, a clear case of tension between popular sovereignty (expressed through the ballot) and the demands of international justice arose. This issue predictably emerged on the agenda of the African Union when Uhuru Kenyata attended for the first time as President of Kenya the summit of the AU Assembly held in May 2013.

During the debate at the AU Assembly, many expressed the view that the continuation of the ICC cases against President Kenyata and his deputy Ruto undermines the sovereignty of the people of Kenya who expressed their will in a vote to represent them as their leaders and threatens the process of reconciliation in the country. The 21st summit of the AU Assembly accordingly adopted a decision (at p. 14) requesting the ICC to refer back to Kenya its cases against Kenyan President Kenyata and his deputy. Read the rest of this entry…

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The African Union, the ICC and Universal Jurisdiction: Some Recent Developments

Published on August 29, 2012        Author: 

Over the last few years, the African Union (AU) Assembly, (composed of Heads of States and Governments), has concerned itself with a number of issues relating to international criminal law (see previous posts by me here, here, and here; and by Max Du Plessis and Chris Gevers here and here). Last month, the AU Assembly held its 19th Summit and continued the trend of making decisions with regard to international criminal justice (see here for the full text of the Assembly decisions). Earlier this week, Max Du Plessis wrote about the decision of the AU Assembly at this summit to postpone consideration of a draft protocol that would amend the Statute of the African Court of Human Rights and Justice to give it jurisdiction to try international crimes. As has now become usual, the AU Assembly, at this latest summit, also adopted decisions on the International Criminal Court and on the Abuse of the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction. Both of these decisions contain new developments from previous decisions which are analysed below. There is a call for African States to conclude bilateral immunity agreements and the AU has adopted a Model Law on Universal Jurisdiction.

The Impact of the ICC on the Venue of the Summit

The question of where the AU summit would be held was dominated by the fallout of the strained relationship between the AU and the International Criminal Court. The venue of the Summit was changed from Malawi to Addis Ababa, the seat of the AU, just one month before the meeting as the AU refused Malawi’s request for Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir not to be invited to the meeting. Malawi, a party to the Statute of the International Criminal Court, stated that it had an obligation to arrest Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC, were he to visit Malawi. Read the rest of this entry…

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Head of State Immunity is not the same as State Immunity: A Response to the African Union’s Position on Article 98 of the ICC Statute

Published on February 13, 2012        Author: 

Jens Iverson is a researcher for the Jus Post Bellum Project at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, University of Leiden, the Netherlands.

On 9 January 2012, the African Union (AU) Commission issued a press release responding to the decisions (see here and here) issued by Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) last December regarding the “alleged” failure by Chad and Malawi to comply with the cooperation requests with respect to the arrest and surrender of President Al Bashir of Sudan (For previous EJIL:Talk! Commentary on the ICC decisions and the AU response see here and here). In the press release, the AU makes the  assertion that the decision has the effect, inter alia, of:

“Rendering Article 98 of the Rome Statute redundant, non-operational and meaningless.”

There has been much discussion (including by Dapo Akande on this blog and elsewhere) regarding the meaning and effect of Article 98 of the Rome Statute. Paragraph 1 of that provision states that:

 “The Court may not proceed with a request for surrender or assistance which would require the requested State to act inconsistently with its obligations under international law with respect to the State or diplomatic immunity of a person or property of a third State, unless the Court can first obtain the cooperation of that third State for the waiver of the immunity.”

 Unfortunately, the following points are often not emphasised in discussions or rulings on Article 98(1) and are entirely overlooked by the AU Commission:

i.          Article 98(1) only covers “State or diplomatic immunity of a person or property of a third State”;

ii.         Head of state immunity is not the same thing as either a) state immunity or b) diplomatic immunity; and

iii.       Head of state immunity is the relevant immunity in this case. 

Nowhere does the Rome Statute explicitly recognize head of state immunity as a reason not to comply with obligations under the Statute.  As is well known, Article 27(2) clearly and unambiguously states that immunities which may attach to the official capacity of a person do not bar the Court from exercising jurisdiction over such a person.  Particularly in light of Article 27(2) and the obvious importance of the question of head of state immunity, if the framers of the Rome Statute intended Article 98(1) to apply to heads of state, one might have expected that explicit language to that effect would have been negotiated at the Rome Conference.  It was not.  Rather, as this analysis will briefly elaborate, it appears that Article 98 was crafted not to interfere with States qua States and with the efficient performance of the functions of diplomatic missions, while retaining the capacity to hold heads of state to account. 

Read the rest of this entry…

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The African Union’s Response to the ICC’s Decisions on Bashir’s Immunity: Will the ICJ Get Another Immunity Case?

Published on February 8, 2012        Author: 

After deciding the Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy: Greece intervening) case (about which I and others will have more to say on the blog soon), there is the prospect of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) being asked to decide another immunity case. At the summit of the Assembly of the African Union held last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, African Heads of States and Heads of Government  requested:

“the [AU]  Commission to consider seeking an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice regarding the immunities of state officials under international law.”

As has been the pattern over the past three or four years, the AU Assembly has, at its biannual meetings, adopted a number of decisions regarding cases at the  International Criminal Court. In the latest meeting,  the AU Assembly reiterated its request that the UN Security Council defer the proceedings against Sudanese President Bashir in accordance with Article 16 of the Rome Statute. It also ” urge[d] all [AU] Member States to comply with [AU] Assembly Decisions on the warrants of arrest issued by the ICC against President Bashir of the Sudan pursuant to Article 23(2) of the [AU] Constitutive Act and Article 98 of the Rome Statute of the ICC.” Those prior decisions had called on African States not to comply with the request by the ICC for the arrest and surrender of Bashir.

The AU Assembly’s latest decision on the ICC proceedings are different from prior decisions in that this time around, there is no call for deferral of the ICC proceedings arising out of the situations in Kenya or in Libya (as had been called for in earlier decisions). This absence should be seen as improving the tone of the African reaction to ICC proceedings. It is now clear that the AU’s objections, at least at present, are really only with respect to one case – the Bashir case. The other difference in the AU Assembly decision is the call for an advisory opinion from the ICJ on the immunities of State officials under international law. Although the AU decision does not make this clear, presumably what the AU wants is an opinion that would clarify the immunity (or otherwise) of State officials from prosecution by the ICC and from enforcement action taken by States acting at the request of the ICC. Given the context of the decision, it does not seem to be the case that the AU wants the ICJ to rule on the immunity of state officials from the jurisdiction of other States that are not acting at the behest of the ICC. In any case, the ICJ, in the Arrest Warrant Case (DRC v Belgium), has already set out its view on aspects of immunity of state officials from the jurisdiction of other States.

The ICC Pre-Trial Chamber ruled, just last December, on the immunity of President Bashir from ICC Prosecution and from arrest in ICC State parties (see my comments on those decisions here). Asking the ICJ to provide an advisory opinion on this issue would be akin to trying to appeal the decisions of the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to the ICJ rather than to the ICC Appeals Chamber. It would be an express invitation for judicial confrontation. I discuss below whether there is any real prospect of the ICJ rendering an advisory opinion on the immunity of State officials from ICC prosecution or arrest for the purposes of ICC prosecution. In my view, there is no legal bar to the Court deciding on this issue. The main obstacle would be whether African States can muster enough political support within the United Nations to get the request for an advisory opinion.

AU Commission Press Release on ICC Pre-Trial Chamber’s Decisions on Bashir’s Immunity

Prior to the AU Summit, the AU Commission issued a press release on January 9 reacting to the decisions of the ICC regarding the immunity of Bashir. In the Press Release,

“the African Union Commission expresses its deep regret that the decision has the effect of:

(i) Purporting to change customary international law in relation to immunity ratione personae;

(ii) Rendering Article 98 of the Rome Statute redundant, non-operational and meaningless;

(iii) Making a decision per incuriam by referring to decisions of the African Union while grossly ignoring the provisions of Article 23 (2) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, to which Chad and Malawi are State Parties, and which obligate all AU Member States ‘to comply with the decisions and policies of the Union’.”

Read the rest of this entry…

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The African Union takes on the ICC Again: Are African States Really Turning from the ICC?

Published on July 26, 2011        Author: 

In the latest summit meeting of the African Union (AU) held in Malabo, Equitorial Guinea, the AU Assembly of Heads of States and Governments has reiterated its opposition to a number of prosecutions at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Readers will recall that all the situations under investigation and prosecution at the ICC relate to African countries. While half of these situations were referred to the ICC by the African States themselves (Democratic Republic of Congo,Uganda, Central African Republic), the AU objected to the decision of the ICC to prosecute Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir. It has called on the UN Security Council to act under Article 16 of the Rome Statute and defer proceedings against Bashir. It has also decided that African States should not comply with the ICC with regard to the Bashir case, including a call for non-compliance with the arrest warrant for Bashir (see previous posts here). In addition, the AU has also called on the UN Security Council to defer the investigations and prosecutions in the Kenya situation (see posts by Max du Plessis and Chris Govers here and here). At the latest AU summit, the AU Assembly has reiterated these calls with regard to the Bashir case and the Kenyan situation. It has now also also called on the Security Council to defer the investigations in Libya and called on AU members not to cooperate with the ICC with regard to the recent arrest warrant for Gaddafi, his son and the Libyan intelligence chief (on which see this post).

So the tension between the AU and the ICC still seems relatively high and is worrying given the fact that the African regional group is the largest grouping among ICC States parties. However, the picture is mixed and all is not doom and gloom. Despite these AU decisions there are still positive signs of support by African States for the ICC. Firstly, one should recall that those African States that have “self-referred” matters to the ICC continue to support ICC prosecutions and to cooperate with the Court. Indeed, the AU itself has not called for non-cooperation with regard to those situations. Secondly, African States have continued to ratify the Rome Statute, the latest of which is Tunisia. Also Cote d’Ivoire as a non party has recently reconfirmed its acceptance of ICC jurisdiction over events in that country. Thirdly, even with regard to Sudan, the AU has not called for deferral of prosecutions in (or non-cooperation with the ICC with regard to) the entire situation. It has only singled out the Bashir case which is only one of the prosecutions with respect to Darfur. Fourth, the position of African States is not solidly in support of the AU position with regard to the cases where it has called for non-cooperation. Some African States have taken a different view and consistently done so. Botswana has probably been the most vocal against the AU decisions on these issues. Just days after the recent AU decision, the Goverment of Botswana issued a statement where it rejects the AU Assembly position, “reiterates her position in support of the [ICC] warrant of arrest and  “calls on fellow members of the AU to support the ICC in carrying out its mandate to apprehend the Libyan leader, as a critical step towards alleviating the plights of the Libyan people, and paving the way for a new democratic dispensation in that country.”

There have been some questions as to whether AU Assembly decisions on this issue impose obligations on AU Members.  Read the rest of this entry…

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The Obligation of African Union States to Implement ICC Arrest Warrants

Published on February 4, 2011        Author: 

Max Du Plessis is associate professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Senior Research Associate at the International Crimes in Africa Programme of the Institute for Security Studies. Chris Gevers is a lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Earlier this week, Dapo had a post dealing with the obligations of contracting parties to the Genocide Convention to implement ICC arrest warrants and pointing to the UCLA Online Forum debate on this topic. In what follows we hope to contribute to the discussion around point (ii) of the topics raised by Dapo’s post and the UCLA debate: the obligations of African Union States Parties to implement ICC arrest warrants.  Our contribution is drawn from our upcoming position paper for the Institute for Security Studies’ International Crime in Africa Programme. The paper provides an analysis of the various obligations Kenya and other States Parties must meet to the ICC in respect of both al-Bashir and the Court’s ongoing investigation into the post-election violence in Kenya, and which considers the nature of the obligations on African States Parties such as Kenya in respect of the AU decision, and in particular the demand for non-cooperation in respect of al-Bashir.  This paper builds on the ISS’s previous position paper – An African expert study on the African Union concerns about article 16 of the Rome Statute of the ICC, by Dapo Akande, Max du Plessis and Charles Jalloh, previously discussed on this blog (here and here) – and similarly the Institute plans to launch the paper internationally in due course.

Firstly, decisions of the AU Assembly are potentially binding on member states. Although there is no express provision in the AU’s Constitutive Act conferring this power, it is clear from article 23 – which sets out the consequences for failing to abide by such decisions – as well as a thorough contextual reading of the Constitutive Act that the Assembly is empowered to do so. Even if the text of the AU Constitutive Act is considered insufficient or equivocal in this regard, given the considerable mandate the body has been given by its member states, those advocating for the binding nature of Assembly decisions could rely on the doctrine of implied powers to support their position. Further, as Bill  Schabas notes in his piece on the UCLA Law Forum, the AU Commission clearly views the AU’s Bashir Decision as binding on its members. Read the rest of this entry…

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Bill Schabas on the African Union’s Proposal to Amend Article 16

Published on November 2, 2010        Author: 

Professor Bill Schabas has written on his blog  (see his post here) about the recent paper co-authored by Charles Jalloh, Max du Plessis and me on the African Union’s (AU) proposal to amend Article 16 of the ICC Statute (see earlier post on this paper here). Prof. Schabas was a member of the expert group convened by the Institute for Security Studies to provide advice and reflection on the paper and it was a pleasure to engage with him on the issue. As readers will see from his post, he is concerned about the tension that has arisen between African States and the ICC. He is also concerned that this tension arises out of what he would consider to be the misguided view that decisions regarding ICC prosecutions should be taken without reference to broader political considerations and in particular without reference to the effect of those prosecutions on stability and peace. He says:

Africa’s declining enthusiasm for the Court has been manifested in a number of ways, including the refusal of certain ICC member states to comply with the Al Bashir arrest warrant. Africa’s tension with the Court is profoundly troubling.
This report, written by three Africans, addresses the African concerns with great understanding and sympathy. It concludes that the legal obstacles to the proposed amendment to article 16 are actually not so serious. The real problem is political. The report suggests there will not be sufficient support among members of the Court. I think that getting general support within the United Nations, or within the States Parties to the Court, is probably not such an obstacle. After all, article 16 was not exactly a careful, balanced attempt to address the relationship between peace and justice. Rather, it was a nasty compromise with the five permanent members of the Security Council, who thought (and probably still think) that in any case the Security Council has the power to stop the Court at any time, even permanently. The real problem with amending article 16 is the permanent five.
It is often said that involving the General Assembly in deferral of prosecution would only ‘further politicise’ the Court. But it is already politicised. I don’t see why making the politicisation of the Court more democratic, by involving the General Assembly, aggravates a problem. In that sense, the African Union proposal makes fine sense. The heart of the matter, I think, is that there is indeed a role for political considerations in the identification of situations for prosecution before the Court, and in decisions to defer prosecution. It is problematic that these decisions are essentially the remit of a single individual, the Prosecutor of the Court. Leaving the Security Council as the only body able to bring such political considerations to bear is also unacceptable, for obvious reasons.
The African Union has probably not found the answer to this conundrum, but its amendment helps in the discussion about how to relate political considerations to choices about prosecution. The current mantra that suggests the Prosecutor is ‘independent’ and indifferent to political matters doesn’t make sense and doesn’t correspond to reality. Like all of us, he has his own views about the world and they are reflected in the determinations that he makes. But many continue to promote the fiction that the Prosecutor is guided only by judicial criteria, such as the mysterious, enigmatic concept of ‘gravity’.

There is a section in the report about impunity in Sudan. It seems accurate enough, except I tend to think it is beside the point. We can all agree that impunity in Sudan needs to be addressed, yet we must also bear in mind the importance of ending existing conflicts and preventing new ones in that unhappy country. African political leaders seem in broad agreement that prosecuting Al Bashir at this sensitive point, with a referendum on the breakup of the country only weeks away, will do more harm than good. Their views are largely dismissed by what I will call the ‘international justice community’. Personally, I am inclined to think that the views of African political leaders are extremely important. I would trade a prosecution of Al Bashir for the promise of peace in Sudan in a heartbeat.

In our discussions with the expert group one of the most contentious issues was the proper meaning to be given to Article 53 of the Rome Statute, which speaks of “interests of justice” as a factor to be taken into account in decision-making about ICC prosecutions. Read the rest of this entry…

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Addressing the African Union’s Proposal to Allow the UN General Assembly to Defer ICC Prosecutions

Published on October 30, 2010        Author: 

One of the aspects of the stand-off between the African Union (AU) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the proceedings against Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir is the call by AU for the United Nations Security Council to invoke Article 16 of the ICC Statute and request a deferral of the ICC prosecution of Bashir. The organs of the AU have made this call several times in the past 18 months but the Security Council has not acceded to this request. This has led to a feeling on the part of some African States that African concerns are being marginalised and that the structure of the UN Security Council does not take sufficient account of their interests. At a Ministerial meeting of African parties to the ICC Statute, held last November, African States recommended that Article 16 of the ICC Statute be amended to allow the UN General Assembly to make requests for deferrals of ICC investigations and prosecutions. The obvious aim of the proposal was to dilute the power of the SC with regard to ICC prosecutions. The proposed amendment reads as follows:

No investigation or prosecution may be commenced or proceeded with under this Statute for a period of 12 months after the Security Council, in a resolution adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, has requested the Court to that effect; that request may be renewed by the Council under the same conditions.

A State with jurisdiction over a situation before the Court may request the UN Security Council to defer a matter before the Court as provided for … above.

Where the UN Security Council fails to decide on the request by the state concerned within six (6) months of receipt of the request, the requesting Party may request the UN General Assembly to assume the Security Council’s responsibility under para 1 consistent with Resolution 377(v) of the UN General Assembly.

Although the proposal was made in the lead up to the Kampala review conference which considered some amendments to the ICC Statute, it was made too late to be on the agenda for that conference. The recommendation was made just days before the 8th session of the meeting of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the ICC Statute. The proposal was put forward at that 8th session and again at the resumed 8th session of the ICC ASP in March 2010 but it was decided not to consider the proposal in Kampala in June 2010 but to defer it to the 9th ASP. The 9th ASP will take place in December this year and it is likely that the AU will be pushing its proposal at that meeting since it was reiterated by the AU Assembly of Heads of State earlier this year.

So what should the ASP do with the AU’s proposal? The proposal raises issues not only with regard to the ICC but also raises questions about the division of competence between the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly. Is the proposed amendment not merely an amendment to the ICC Statute but also an indirect way of amending the UN Charter? For example, would the amendment be compatible with Article 12 of the UN Charter which states that the Gen. Assembly may not make recommendations with regard to situations or dispute in respect of which the SC is exercising its functions?  What are the prospects for success for this amendment? Furthermore, quite apart from the specifics of Article 16, how should the concerns of some African States regarding the operation of the ICC be addressed? Are those concerns valid and can they be addressed without amendment to the ICC Statute?

In a recent paper produced for the South African based Institute for Security Studies, Max du Plessis (University of KwaZulu Natal), Charles Jalloh (University of Pittsburgh) and I address these issues concerning the AU concerns about the ICC.

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. Read the rest of this entry…

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Is the Rift between Africa and the ICC Deepening? Heads of States Decide Not to Cooperate with ICC on the Bashir Case

Published on July 4, 2009        Author: 

Disclosure: I have acted as consultant to the Commission of the African Union on the question of the relationship between African States and the ICC. Note: This is a long post. If you’re interested in whether Bashir is entitled to immunity under the ICC Statute I try to provide answers at the end.

As I discussed in a previous post (see here) there has been tension between African States and the ICC regarding the indictment of Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir. It is reported (here and here) that the Assembly of the African Union (which meets at the level of Heads of States and Governments), has adopted a resolution calling on all African States not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court on the Bashir case.  In the resolution:

“(The African Union) decides that in view of the fact that a request of the African Union (to defer al Bashir’s indictment) has never been acted upon, the AU member states shall not cooperate persuant to the provisions of Article 98 of the Rome Statute of the ICC relating to immunities for the arrest and surrender of Sudanese President Omar al Bashir to the ICC,”

 This, of course, means that the AU Assembly is calling on States not to take steps to arrest Bashir and not to allow the ICC to conduct investigations on their territory (eg interviewing victims) relating to the Bashir case. The resolution arises out of anger not just at the fact that a sitting head of State has been indicted but because the UN Security Council has failed to take up the African request for deferral of the case under Art. 16 of the Rome Statute. In some ways, the resolution takes a middle position among the range of views that have been taken by African States. Some States have taken a hardline position and would have liked to push for African States to the ICC Statute to withdraw or at least consider withdrawing from the Rome Statute. At the other end of the spectrum, others would have preferred a reiteration of the request for deferral.

There is some confusion in press reports about whether the text of the current resolution was adopted unanimously or not. As I noted in my earlier post, there is significant support for the ICC among African States. It is noteworthy that  this resolution confines its call for non-cooperation solely to the Bashir case.  ICC investigation of the other situations before the ICC continues to have the support of the countries (Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic) where those situations arise from. Also on the same day that the AU adopted this resolution, Kenyan officials met with the ICC Prosecutor (see here and here) and agreed that if the Kenya Parliament is unable to adopt legislation to establish a tribunal to deal with 2007 post election violence in that country, the government would refer the situation to the ICC.

The point that African States are not to be seen as rejecting the ICC as an institution or the Rome Statute as a treaty can also be seen from the fact that the AU has sought to use mechanisms within the Rome Statute in order to halt the Bashir case. First, there was the attempt to use an Art. 16 deferral. Now, this resolution justifies the call for non-cooperation on the basis of Art. 98 dealing with immunity. This leads to the question whether Art. 98 does indeed permit States parties to the Statute to refuse cooperation on the basis of the immunity of a Head of State. Read the rest of this entry…

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