Mugabe faces stiff resistance over ICC pullout at AU summit


President Robert Mugabe is likely to face stiff resistance from other countries at an African Union (AU) summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, later this week in the wake of his call for the continent to pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC), accusing it of bias.

By Phyllis Mbanje

African governments are meeting for the 25th summit of the AU, from June 7 to 15 in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Mugabe, who is the AU rotating chair for 2015, threatened in January this year to push for African ICC members to withdraw from the court at the June summit.

However, in the days leading up to the summit, Malawian officials told reporters that it would not consider withdrawal. Botswana too has consistently stressed its support for the ICC when the court has come under attack at the AU.

“As the AU summit unfolds this week in Johannesburg, it’s an open question as to whether the Zimbabwean President will continue to forge ahead on his call. Malawi took an important stand last week against withdrawal and more states should do the same,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) senior Press officer in South Africa, Birgit Schwarz, said.

Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the Rome Statute which set up the ICC in 2002 as the government did not want to subject itself to external scrutiny amid allegations of impunity in the face of serious crimes being committed in the country.

Mugabe has been pushing African ICC member states to pull out of the organisation.

He has some symphatisers who accuse the ICC of having an agenda against the continent as everyone who has ever appeared at the court in The Hague has been African.

However, many feel it was critical in addressing gross cases of human injustice and victims of serious crimes may feel betrayed when their governments do not take steps to remedy the harm done to them

“More states should follow Malawi’s recent move to publicly oppose calls for ICC withdrawal and Botswana’s strong public backing of the ICC,” said Timothy Mtambo of Malawi’s Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation.

“The ICC is a crucial court that should be supported and strengthened.”

While the majority of AU members are also members of the ICC, most of those countries lack domestic laws that fully incorporate the crimes of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and co-operation with the ICC, as key pillars of justice..

In a statement, the HRW said African and international organisations had written a letter to the African International Criminal Court saying that governments should provide leadership to build on important steps during 2015 to ensure justice for grave international crimes.

The groups that signed the letter are among the most active partners of an informal group of African and international organisations based in more than a dozen African countries that seek to promote justice for serious crimes that violate international law.


  1. Stupid Africans! why should you fight for a court that was set up for the sole purpose of lining African leaders for prosecution? Why don’t you ask yourself why the Americans and many western countries are not signatories to the Rome statutes? Why do we as Africans sink so low to an extent of fighting to remain subjects to colonial projects? I fail to understand why? Can’t you smell the coffee? After many years its when we will discover that it was a project for humiliating African leaders while celebrating the likes of the Bushes and Blairs of tis world, its a shame on our integrity ad intelligence as Africans.

    • Would you honestly describe yourself as being any different to Ian Smith?
      This is the type of “divide and rule” that was used as a means of keeping us all enslaved.
      We no longer recognise colour as a basis for division. It is very simple we require justice and as Malcolm X said – By any means. I guess your one of the Dinosours.

  2. Let’s put the ICC aside,if I may ask why was our own SADC Tribunal closed again?. These very murderers and thieves who are leading Africa today also pulled out from the SADC Tribunal so nothing new here.

    • It is unfortunate that you think Africans who support the ICC who support the ICC are stupid just because you have a different perspective. The problem with people like Mugabe is that he wants African leaders to be treated with impunity. If it was entirely about the court’s bias against Africans, why did Mugabe fight for the dissolution of the SADC Court of appeal which was based in Namibia? Why does he want people to have absolutely no recourse when they are at the mess of a predatory African leadership? Why not at least start by fighting to have the ICC reformed?

      The reason people end up seeking justice from our erstwhile colonisers has to do with the undeniable fact that African leaders have turned out to be more brutal against their own people than the those who colonised us. In our case, we have a leader who shamelessly committed genocide against his own people and as if that wasn’t enough, almost 20 years after Gukurahundi he was back with Murambatsvina.

      By the way, we have also seen East Europeans being tried at the Hague.

  3. @chief mangwende makaipa makaipa, thanks for the rational analysis you put across!

  4. As long as ICC prosecutes bad African leaders, we hav no problem with it. We support any form of justice against evil dictators any day

  5. Rather than pulling out, why not build an African case against George W Bush etc. to be tried Internationally using ICC resources?

  6. ShaaZ is the only man in the house. Any one who has written against his sentiment is either Ndebele or utterly stupid beyond death. Let us not include Abbie, because she is unjust a woman who wishes she were man. Women are like children, and must not be taken seriously, and if anything deserve a hot slap in the face to reset their brain. NdapedZa Zvangu.

  7. someone said East Europeans give us a country please Russia,Cheychnya?? Ukraine?? who ever they are,”weapon traffickers”, they don’t make world news like African Presidents.. Who and what gives them right to Try a sitting Pres, Kenya to be exact.. When it comes to BIG Name states their nowhere to be found. Africa will wake up one day..

  8. guys you won’t bring these vagabonds like Mugabe to court yourselves so someone had to do it for you. Nothing new ! Natural disaster ? Who comes to your aid?

  9. Do u people even know what dictatorship is all about?? Look at those Countries in Africa where it’s been rould by dictators there are more better than the so called democratic government for example Countries like Gabon Gambia Angola Republic of the Congo Equatorial Guinea Cameroon that there call dictator rulership are this Country not far better than many African Countries?? I know very well the History of Cameroon I Have been there thereKnow Nothing like violence for 33 years under one president there have good Economic look at Lybia in the day of dictatorship How it was and today democracy How is it today?? So stop puting Blams on mugebe he is a Good President ICC only Jail those who are Against them so my people be wise

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