Ethiopia & Rwanda lead anti-ICC ‘African’ front in New York; Security Council today to decide on deferral; rejection anticipated

15 Nov

by Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopian Observatory

Ethiopian authorities have spent a great deal of national and regional energy, seeking to build a ‘coalition of the willing’ in Africa against the International Criminal Court (ICC)). This comes, at the heel of the last summit in October 12-13, 2013 in Addis Abeba, where many African countries clearly signalled displeasure with efforts by a few to discredit or kill the Court for self-serving reasons.

Today, upon the initiative of this activist coalition of a few countries, the United Nations Security Council is expected to decide whether the cases already before the ICC of Kenyan leaders should be postponed for a period of one year.

The resolution to be considered by the Council has been pressed and circulated to members of the Council by Rwanda – currently the Security Council’s non-permanent member from Africa. A known opponent of the ICC, Ethiopia has been assisting Rwanda, although both of them are non-signatories to the Rome Statute, establishing the ICC.

Rwanda in its representation of Africa in the Security Council, as a non-permanent members, is assisted by Ethiopia, venting out its self-interested position and as a very well-known hawk against the ICC, while it too is a non-member of the Court and the Rome Statute.

A mistaken view amongst the international media is the constant implication of the common African position against the ICC, which Kenyan leaders have forged. This is wrong. There is a ‘coalition of the willing’, comprising of Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan (whose president is ICC-indictee) and Uganda at the forefront of the African Group. The fact of the matter is that, however, there is no unanimous African position against the ICC, although countries have some misgivings about the Court’s functioning and perception of selecting Africans for investigations.

Some African countries, especially West Africa, is of the view that Africa must take, any of its case to the Conference of the State Parties to the Rome Treaty at The Hague at the end of this month. Unfortunately, this far the activists have the gavel and the false arguments.

Many nations, as non-African nations, strongly feel that this Kenyan strategy is an attempt by Nairobi to escape facing justice. Nevertheless, after the September attack on a mall in Nairobi, Kenyan leaders and their legal advisors exploit the recent Al-Shabab attack in that country as a convenient excuse. they argue that the Kenyan president and his deputy should be allowed to use their time and energy to ensure the peace and security of Kenyans.

On the other hand, Ethiopia has more pressing issues, at a time such as when its citizens are being harassed, killed and its women in Saudi Arabia are being gang raped by ‘Saudi janjaweeds’- youth vigilante groups marauding towns and city streets in that country, with complicity of the security system.

In demonstrations around the world this week, which still is continuing, many Ethiopians blame the Ethiopian authorities for not showing enough interest in addressing the plights of Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia, to which they have only paid lip service.

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