Africa won't execute ICC Gaddafi warrant

2011-07-02 10:00

Malabo - African nations will not execute an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant issued for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, an African Union summit decided on Friday.

The summit in Equatorial Guinea said the warrant issued on Monday hampered efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict between Gaddafi's forces and Libyan rebels.

An assembly of the summit decided that "AU member states shall not co-operate in the execution of the arrest warrant", according to a text of the decisions.

The warrant "seriously complicates the efforts aimed at finding a negotiated political settlement to the crisis in Libya, which will also address, in a mutually reinforcing way, issues related to impunity and reconciliation," it said.

The 53-nation African Union took a similar stance against an ICC warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2009 on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

On Monday the ICC issued warrants for Gaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam, and the head of Libyan intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, for atrocities committed in a bloody uprising that began mid-February.

Friday's African Union statement called on the UN Security Council to intervene to stop legal action against Libya "in the interests of justice and peace in this country".

ICC trying Africans only

And it absolved Chad, Kenya and Djibouti of any wrongdoing for having received Bashir since the warrant against him was issued, saying they were "acting in pursuit of peace and stability in their respective regions".

The Union was not against the ICC but the way it appeared to be targeting the continent, African Union Commission chairperson Jean Ping told reporters.

"We support the fight against impunity, we do not support impunity, we are not even against the Criminal Court," he said.

However, "we are against the way justice is being rendered because ... it looks as if this ICC is only interested in trying the Africans", he said, referring to decisions by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

"Does this mean that in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Gaza, in Chechnya, there is nothing happening there?

"It is not only in Africa that there are problems. So why no one else except the Africans are being tried and judged by this court?"

Of ICC prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo, he said: "We say to him, read the law, don't do politics. As one president said: 'Ocampo, it's a joke'."

Read more on:    au  |  icc  |  muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  libya protests  |  north africa  |  uprisings
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