Africa and ICC: Don’t Scare Investors

Published on 28th May 2013

The Heads of State attending the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia passed a resolution urging the International Criminal Court (ICC) to refer crimes against humanity cases facing Africans back to Africa. Citing the case of Kenya, the AU leaders said that Kenya has a credible judiciary trusted by all Kenyans capable of hearing and determining the cases. What is missing in this point is that the Kenyan parliament of its own volition surrendered what should have been cases under Kenyan jurisdiction to ICC.

It is also imperative that the ICC comes out clear that they are not in business to target African leaders as was argued by the pan-African body. There are 120 countries currently party-to the Rome Statute. Thirty three African states comprise nearly 30 per cent of the court's membership, or over 60 per cent of the continent's states.

The zeal and collective voice of the African leaders on this issue is admirable. Such moves should also be seen on addressing African-man-made challenges such as famine, insecurity, and mismanagement of political affairs among others. More reasoned joint voices are also required to focus on international trade and finance systems that have all along relegated the continent to primary level productivity.

The African Union should not peg its modus of operation on “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” It should be realized that a political threat to a judiciary process has the potential to de-motivate both African and non – African investors from driving the much needed growth on the continent.

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