, NUREMBERG, Germany, Nov 10 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has said it expects African countries to air their views concerning their relationship with the court in the coming Assembly of State Parties (ASP) conference to be held at The Hague.
Speaking during a conference on Building a Legacy at the Court 600, Memoriam Nuremberg Trials, ICC Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart said African countries are important partners as they form the majority of members of the ICC.
“ASP will be making space for African States to raise issues of concern with the court. The process of addressing the relationship between the court and Africa is broad and complex but during the ASP they can air their issues,” he asserted.
He said the annual ASP will be an important platform to address the bad blood between African states and the ICC.
His remarks come after the Africa Union threatened they would pull out of the Rome Statute because of the ongoing cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
According to Stewart, it is important for the ICC to continue encouraging member states to give the court the support it requires since it relies on their cooperation for the success of the court.
The ICC for example does not have a police of its own hence it depends on member states to make arrests on its behalf.
Despite threats by African states to pull out of the Rome Statute Stewart said some countries still support the ICC and have in fact abandoned calls for withdrawal.
The Deputy Prosecutor further felt that the court was still enjoying silent support and was hopeful the support will continue.
Stewart especially hoped that ICC and Kenya will forge a better relationship despite the continued bashing in regards to the cases against President Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto.
“The relationship between Kenya and ICC is complex but Kenya is important for ICC and the is silent majority that still supports the court,” Steward asserted.
African states have complained that ICC has applied selective justice and has usually targeted African states.
Having 34 of African countries as signatories of the Rome Statute, the continent have also found it unfair for the ICC to have Kenya’s president and his deputy facing charges at the court.
They felt that it was an abuse of Kenya’s sovereignty.
The defence teams of Kenyatta, Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang have also complained that the Office of The Prosecutor did not do proper investigations.
They complained that the prosecution relied on false witnesses and coached them to fix their clients.
Ruto and Sang started their trials on September 10, whereas Kenyatta’s date of trial was vacated from November 12 to early 2014.