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AU chief accuses ICC of selective justice
African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Jean Ping Tuesday launched a blistering attack on the International Criminal Court (ICC), accusing it of seeking to perpetuate the myth that African governments and leaders are inherently criminal and incapable of any good. Speaking at press briefing here, he said that the ICC was established to try Africans only as it had so far failed to take decisive action on leaders in the West, who have committed worse crimes that some African leaders are being accused of. "The ICC was created to try Africans," he said in response to concerns about impunity on the continent.
The AUC chief was responding to questions about the warrants of arrests against the Sudanese President Hassan Oman el Bashir, whom is wanted for crimes against humanity the Hague-based court. The crisis in Sudan is expected to feature prominently at the 12th AU heads of state summit, which holds 1-3 February.
Instructively, the AU chief's tongue-lashing of the ICC comes shortly after the trial of Democratic Republic of Congo former rebel leaders, Mr Jean Pierre Bemba and Thomas Lubanga, commenced at The Hague. "International law should not be wielded (as) the big stick (by) strong nations used to pummel the weak ones. We are against selective justice. If we have to be fair, the Georgian president, who is being accused by Russia of genocide, must face similar justice," Ping said.
He said that the AU had invoked Article 16 of the Rome Statute, which created the ICC, to suspend the warrants against the Sudanese leader.Ping said that the invocation of Article 16 should not be construed to suggest that the continent was tolerant of impunity. "We must acknowledge that there are serious governance problems on the continent that we must address urgently," he said.