African leaders threaten ICC withdrawal if Al-Bashir, Ruto cases not dropped

KHARTOUM, Jan 31 (KUNA) — African leaders will collectively withdraw from the International Criminal Court if a Security Council referral of Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir’s case for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity and a court hearing for Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto are not annulled.
The intention was cited by Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour to reporters upon his return from African Summit talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sunday. He said that it was taken as per a ministerial report issued following the past South Africa summit.
Describing the summit talks, he had attended alongside President Al-Bashir, he said they illustrated the power of consensus reached amongst the leaders, adding that the continent is moving in the “right direction.” Leaders had stressed that in the event of African demands not being met, African Union member states would in turn take the decision to withdraw from the ICC in the view that African officials have been victimized by the ICC.
The decision to indict Al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the eastern Darfur conflict along with an arrest warrant was taken by the ICC in 2009 – a verdict strongly contested by Khartoum, which has described The Hague-based intergovernmental tribunal as having “colonial” objectives. (end) hhi.sd