, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 – African Justice Ministers and Attorney Generals are converged in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss ways of expanding the mandate of the African Court of Justice to deal with crimes against humanity.
The meeting that kicked off on Monday is centred on how to empower African courts to cover cases of international magnitude which are currently being handled by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Kenya’s delegation is led by Attorney General Githu Muigai.
An official attending the meeting told Capital FM News that there are 64 participants who include Ministers and Attorney Generals.
“The main agenda of the meeting is to expand the mandate of the court of justice to cover cases of crimes against humanity and other related cases,” the highly ranked government official said.
The meeting will also discuss the status of the cases against leaders and nationals, including Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir and four Kenyans facing crimes against humanity charges.
The Kenyans facing trial in The Hague include Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang who are accused of planning and masterminding the post election violence of 2008, leading to the deaths of at least 1,300 people and displacement of half a million others.
Kenya has been trying to lobby other African States to support its bid of having the cases against its top officials referred back to the country or a regional court.
During the Addis Ababa meeting, renowned Ugandan peace negotiator David Matsanga who has previously protested formally to the ICC on the manner in which the Kenyan cases were investigated handed a formal petition to the Chairman of the African Commission Jean Ping.
“It is now apparent that values of ICC have been put on trial by the flawed investigations and politicisation of all African cases,” Matsanga states in his petition.
“This meeting is a sign of relief to many of us patriotic Africans who have struggled against the ICC Chief Prosecutor who has become a liability and a poodle of the western nations.”
Participants at the meeting urged the new ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to institute fresh investigations in the African cases.
Matsanga also shares the participants’ feelings because he believes the African cases, including the Kenyan situation were hurriedly investigated.
“I want to make it clear that the court and the new chief prosecutor of the ICC, herself being an African from Gambia must initiate independent investigations and review cases, assess, evaluate all cases Moreno Ocampo investigated,” Matsanga says in his petition to the African Union.
Matsanga’s petition is copied to all African Heads of State, The ICC and the European Union External Affairs Commissioner Baroness Catherine Ashton