Addis Ababa, 26 May 2013
Africa leaders gathered today at the 21st Ordinary Session of the African Union following the jubilee celebrations of the organisation’s 50th anniversary. The day was marked by discussions ranging from the need for the African Union to finance its activities to a review of the report documenting peace and security situations on the continent.
President Kagame today condemned the instrumentalisation of international justice for political interests which continues to undermine peace processes as well as the sovereignty of African nations.
“We cannot support an ICC that condemns crimes committed by some and not others or imposes itself on democratic processes or the will of sovereign people. Such a court cannot facilitate reconciliation which is a vital precursor to peace.”
While highlighting the importance of fighting impunity, President Kagame urged all present to stand up against the use of international justice as a political tool:
“It is evident that political bias, control and flawed methodology are being deployed in the name of International Justice. Yet ICC proponents are ostensibly deaf to the increasingly vocal criticism against the court’s bias towards Africa. This is not acceptable and Africa must stand up to it and refuse to be intimidated or bribed into silence and inaction on this matter.”
President Kagame urged African nations to build capacity to address criminal justice and called for a united African stance in favor of the ICC droping cases against Kenyan leaders:
“It is not in the interest of the ICC, the Security Council, the African continent and relationships between the three, to see further humiliation of African people and their leaders by an unfair criminal justice system. We should support a common African position and action on the matter at this Summit and subsequently at the UN General Assembly.”
The first day of the African Union Summit was also marked by the follow up meeting to the United Nations Secretary General Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework on DRC. Commenting on the role of the framework, Minister Mushikiwabo reiterated Rwanda’s support for a political solution:
“The framework reaffirmed the importance of addressing the root causes of conflict in DRC through political dialogue.”
Heads of State present ended the day by signing the African Union 2063 Proclaimation pledging their commitment to fulfilling the vision of a united and dignified Africa.