ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Jan 29 – The Africa Union (AU) has achieved most of its agenda on the continent’s relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC), Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has said.
She noted that last year’s Extra-ordinary AU Summit resolved that serving Heads of State and their deputies should not be tried at the ICC and that has been achieved.
“AU decided President Uhuru Kenyatta should not attended trial at The Hague – he has not, while Deputy President William Ruto has been granted partial excusal and does not have to attend all the court sessions,” Mohamed said.
The Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary was addressing the press in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia ahead of the opening of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the AU Heads of State Summit slated for January 30 and 31.
She said the AU has also succeeded in galvanizing the support of all its member states towards reviewing the Rome Statute and the role of the ICC prosecutor.
“We have been able to look at the Rome Statute with objective eyes and we are in agreement on what needs to be done to address the shortcomings of the ICC,” she said.
Mohamed said that a report on what transpired at the last Assembly of State Parties (ASP) meeting will be presented and discussed at this week’s AU summit.
She disclosed that a special ASP meeting will be held where amendments to the Rome Statute will be made to reflect Africa’s position.
On South Sudan, the Cabinet Secretary said the AU seeks to ensure that the verification and monitoring mechanisms of the signed agreement on cessation of hostilities are put in place quickly to ensure peace and open up the humanitarian corridor.
“This will make the delivery of food, medicine and humanitarian support to the people of South Sudan possible and end their suffering. Consequently, those who fled their country will be able to go back home,” she said.
The Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary said this week’s AU Summit, whose theme is “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture: Harnessing Opportunities for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development” will also focus on economic growth, industrialization, agribusiness and the AU budget.
She said the summit is unique as it is taking place when AU is celebrating 50 years of its existence and provides the opportunity to look at past achievements and reflect on the future.
Mohamed said the summit will also discuss ways of mobilizing resources from member states to stop AU’s over-reliance on its partners.
“It is quite painful to many of us that 70 percent of AU’s budget is still funded by partners outside Africa,” Mohamed said.
President Kenyatta is expected to attend the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union Heads of State Summit.