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AU steps up fight to try Hague cases in Africa

Wednesday July 11 2012

By NATION REPORTER

African governments are stepping up work to have cases at the International Criminal Court tried locally.

On Sunday, African Heads of State and Governments will meet in Addis Ababa for an African Union Summit where they are to discuss the possibility of establishing the African court.

Today, ministers from the African countries are discussing the proposal that they will hand over to their presidents.

Agenda 9(b and c) of Sunday’s meeting reads: “Consideration of Legal Instruments as recommended by the Executive Council and Ministers of Justice and Attorneys-General; Draft Protocol on the African Court of Justice and Human Rights; Draft African Union Model National Law on Universal Jurisdiction over International Crimes.”

During the 19th ordinary session of the AU Summit, the leaders will be endorsing recommendations by Ministers and AGs to extend the African Court of Justice’s mandate to include prosecutions for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. (READ: AU moves to take over Hague cases)

Last week, the East Africa Community Council of Ministers tasked the AU Secretariat to devise a policy that extends the jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice, during a meeting in Arusha, Tanzania.

Policy issues

“The secretariat should develop a technical paper that addresses policy and legal issues related to the consideration of the summit directive on extending jurisdiction of EACJ to cover, among others, crime against humanity,” the ministers said after their meeting.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former head of public service Francis Muthaura, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Sang stand trial at The Hague next year on crimes against humanity charges.