AU to vote on African criminal court

2012-07-14 07:30

Addis Ababa - The African Union is mulling the establishment of a continental criminal court to try human rights abuses on home soil instead of in Europe, the head of the existing pan-African court said on Friday.

"An African court trying Africans will be more aware of the cultural, social environment and context of the crimes themselves," said Judge Gerard Niyungeko, president of the African Court on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR).

The court, which at present does not have the jurisdiction to try criminals, has appealed to the 54-member AU ahead of its biannual summit beginning on Sunday to upgrade its mandate so as to convict criminals.

However, Niyungeko said that even if the AU adopts the recommendation to empower the court to try criminals, it could be years before members then ratify the decision to allow the court to function.

"It is on the agenda of the summit, but to know whether it will be adopted or not is another story," he said.

It is also not clear how the court would function in relation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, but Niyungeko said the two bodies would have to make arrangements to decide where criminals would be tried.

"There will be a need for both courts to discuss and come up with some practical arrangements so as to avoid overlapping jurisdictions," he said.

The court, which currently functions to protect the AU Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, was established in 2004 and sits in the Tanzanian city of Arusha. Its protocol has been signed by 26 countries.

Sophia Affuko, the court's vice president, said the need to create an African criminal court springs from criticism that the ICC only tries African cases.

"The perception is simply that they are gunning for Africans," Affuko said. "So far they have only investigated and prosecuted Africans."

She said the ICC's credibility has also suffered because it is seen as relying on unreliable evidence in its trials.

"There's also the perception that even the investigation has been rather wishy-washy and not done quite professionally," she added.

This year, the ICC appointed Fatou Bensouda from Gambia as the body's chief prosecutor, replacing Louis Moreno Ocampo, from Argentina.

  • john.dorian.1042 - 2012-07-14 08:13

    This is just an African effort to protect its dictators against reprisal from Europe. No one will be tried in this court, you can be sure of that. More job creation, unaccountability and a complete waste of time whilst the bob (enjaans) of Africa pillage and plunder without fear.

      LynneOeschger - 2012-07-14 08:24

      Yup. The African way strikes again.

      omo.naija.750 - 2012-07-14 12:38

      I must agree with you guys.This is another way for them to protect themselves.This kind of court will only be viable when all the current leaders are assassinated and a new crop young educated and disciplined Africans take up the mantles of leadership across the African continent. That being said we can not ignore the fact that ICC has not really prosecuted any leader from the west.I mean George Bush Jr,Dick cheney and several American politicians as well military personals are well known criminals who have committed several atrocities against humanity in several countries for the past 100 years but they are never prosecuted. The world we live in is not a fair world at all.

  • andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-07-14 08:30

    With ubuntu? Now ways they will effectively act against other Africans! Look how they uphold and molly-cuddle dictators like Mugabe.

  • trevor.mashilo - 2012-07-14 08:54

    As an AFRICAN u r free to criticise me the ICC....Only Target Africans.....i had never seen a Western leader being prosecuted. \The perception is simply that they are gunning\r\nfor Africans,\ Affuko said. \So far they have only\r\ninvestigated and prosecuted Africans.\....Actually It ICC shud b ISC International Slavery Court.....

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-14 09:10

      Before making a comment, just be sure of your facts: The current trial at the ICC, is against Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic. As far as I know, Bosnia is not in Africa !!!!!!

      keith.murphy.9638 - 2012-07-14 10:03

      You right brother they only target africans.What about the western vampires and it allies who committed mass murders of atrocities around the world

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-14 10:33

      Don't take any notice of this Keith, His ONLY purpose for making comments on these sites , is to spew his silly, childish anti Western BS !!! Besides this, he has NOTHING to offer !!!

  • Vince.York - 2012-07-14 09:05

    How did George Orwell describe this phenomenon? I wonder where the United African Nations building paid for by the Chinese will pop up? and of course the African United Hospitals, because of course a vet is no longer good enough for horses to go to the same doctor as sheep nor wolves in sheep's skins either. Is it MUCH BETTER that non-humans have their own little spot in uhuru possibly based on the above premises?

  • gregory.f.dean - 2012-07-14 09:17

    It will never happen. In any event Africans are unlikely to bring to Court Leaders of Human Rights Abuses as they appear to condone such events!

      ali.mutlak.5 - 2012-07-14 10:57

      You like it or not, it will happen we Africans are tired with your western stupidity, its over, we prefer China instead of europe...we aware of your tricks your games are over...Never again shall we accept european laws on our continent

      harley.quin.334 - 2012-07-14 11:22

      @ali.mutlak.5, you prefer China? be carefull what you wish for

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-14 14:44

      Ali, If it makes you happy, to spew out some silly, childish anti western BS than go for it, but the following: The MOST important issues in Africa are JOBS, JOBS and JOBS The USA and Europe create direct and indirect hundreds of thousands of jobs. Show me ONE JOB, the Chinese have created!!!!! I will show you tens of thousands of jobs, the Chinese DESTROYED !!!!!

  • Hermann - 2012-07-15 09:05

    Will take years to receive the required ratifications to become effective - yes and IF.

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