Nigeria rejects Africa’s withdrawal from ICC

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Nigeria has rejected the African Union (AU) determination calling for mass withdrawal of member states from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The union backed a “strategy of collective withdrawal” from the ICC, after an excessive debate at its annual heads of state summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian capital.

Notwithstanding, the decision is non-binding, with Nigeria and Senegal contradicting withdrawal.

Part of the resolution likewise said the AU would hold chats with the UN Security Council to push for the ICC to be changed.

“What they (AU) did was to set up a committee to elaborate a strategy for collective withdrawal. And after, Senegal took the floor, Nigeria took the floor, Cape Verde and some other countries made it clear that they were not going to subscribe to that decision,” said Geoffrey Onyeama, the Nigerian Foreign Affairs minister.

The minister said Nigeria and others believed that the court had an important role to play in holding leaders accountable.

He stressed that each country willingly acceded to the 1998 Rome Statute on the setting up of the court.

“So, each country, if they want to withdraw, has the right to do that individually,” he noted.

An total of 34 African states are signatories to the Rome Statute, which made up the ICC. Three nations in 2016 openly pronounced their aim to pull back from the court.

The Gambia has likewise flagged its expectation, yet the new administration has shown that it would not proceed.
South Africa and Burundi have officially chosen to withdraw, blaming the ICC for undermining their power and unjustifiably focusing on Africans.

The ICC, which came into compel in 2002, means to prosecute and bring to justice those involved in worst crimes – genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Only Africans have been prosecuted so far.