Zuma explains Africa’s stance on ICC

South African President, Jacob Zuma

The AU wants an amendment to the ICC laws.

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa says African leaders position on the International Criminal Court (ICC) is hinged on the quest for equality.

Mr. Zuma, who made the remark in Parliament on Wednesday, added that it was also based on the need to cement hard won peace and stability in areas which had been ravaged by conflict.

The African Union (AU) summit in October, resolved that prosecution of serving African Heads of State or Government y the ICC should not commence during his or her term of office.

According to the AU, the decision is to safeguard the constitutional order, stability and integrity of member states.

Mr. Zuma said the decision was not designed to create an impression that certain leaders may be above the law.

“The AU is committed to equality before the law and to fighting impunity; hence the process is on to expand the mandate of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights.

“This will help us to promote the search for African solutions to African problems.

“The recommendation will not necessarily result in Heads of State extending their terms of office”, Mr. Zuma stressed.

He added that AU had its instruments for promoting the adherence to democratic principles.

These, he said, include the Charter on Good Democracy, Elections and Governance and the Peer Review Mechanism.

“What we are guarding against is the situation where countries that had moved to a semblance of stability suddenly regress due to a vacuum that would be created when leaders are taken away to stand trial.

“Africa prides itself on the progress made thus far in promoting peace and democracy”, Mr. Zuma said.

He said the measures suggested were merely designed to promote stability and ensure that peace takes root in areas that had experienced long periods of conflict.

“It is not at all designed to promote undemocratic tendencies or a culture of impunity for Heads of State,” he said.

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