Use summit in Mali to support ICC, African leaders told

2017-01-13 14:00
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Cape Town – The Africa-France summit has kicked off in Mali, with the Human Rights Watch (HRW) urging African countries to "stand with victims of grave international crimes by voicing their support for the International Criminal Court (ICC)".

Three countries – South Africa, Burundi and Gambia – announced their withdrawal from The Hague-based court last year.

HRW said the countries’ withdrawals could pose unprecedented challenges for the court in Africa and could impede access to justice for victims of heinous crimes when their own country courts are not an option.

"While the ICC is not on the official agenda, those attending can still find time to discuss how to best counter unwarranted attacks on the court in Africa," HRW said.

A number of African countries, including Nigeria, Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo, have said that they will not join the withdrawals.

"But more robust, co-odinated backing of the court is needed, particularly ahead of the next African Union summit, which will take place in Ethiopia from January 22 to 31, 2017," the rights group said.

The 27th edition of the France-Africa summit in Mali is aimed at strengthening ties between France and African countries.

The two-day summit themed "Partnership, Pease and Emergence", began on Friday, with foreign ministers meeting to adopt resolutions for onward presentation to heads of state and government.

According to Zimbabwe’s state-owned Herald newspaper, the summit agenda will hinge on peace and security, terrorism, migration, cyber-crime, human and drug trafficking, among other issues. 

Read more on:    international criminal court  |  hrw  |  au  |  mali  |  west africa  |  africa

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