On the November 15, 2013, the UN Security Council failed to support the request of the African Union (AU) for the deferral of the criminal cases against the President and Deputy President of Kenya for a year as provided for by Article 16 of the Rome Statute of the international Criminal Court. The resolution for the deferral prepared by Rwanda on behalf of the AU did not receive the requisite number of votes. Russia and China supported the resolution but the United States of America, France and the United Kingdom abstained from voting.
The decision of the UN Security Council, whilst appreciated and supported by the human rights movement in general and many victims of the 2007 post-electoral violence, was met with accusations of betrayal directed to the US, France, and UK by Kenya, the AU and some African states.
These developments raise several questions and concerns in relation to future relations between the International Criminal Court and the African Union on the one hand, and between the UN and African states on the other. Will African States follow the Kenyan example and withdraw from the Rome Statute? And will the African Union establish its own regional criminal court to respond to incidents of gross human rights violations, genocide and war crimes?
In the midst of these developments, we must add what is happening in the shadows of the conflict in the DR Congo where Presidents Museveni of Uganda and Kagame of Rwanda stand indicted by UN reports for their role in the conflict and the plundering of Congolese natural resources and the horrendous human rights abuses and crimes against humanity committed by their proxy militias.
- Mr Nii Akuetteh, Africa analyst and democracy activist
- Raymond Yeldidong Bayor, a Ghanaian studying journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism
- Tseliso Thipanyane, AfrobeatRadio's Human Rights producer
- Wuyi Jacob