The list of African countries reconsidering their membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC) is growing. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said on December 12 that the country will have to think seriously about its membership.
“We have sought the changes that will align the ICC to respect national sovereignty. Those changes have not been forthcoming. We will therefore need to give serious thought to our membership,” he said in a televised speech to mark the establishment of Kenya as a republic in 1964.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have both faced charges at the ICC over their alleged roles in the deadly inter-ethnic violence after Kenya’s 2007 elections in which about 1,200 people died. Both cases collapsed due to insufficient evidence.
His announcement put new pressure on the world’s first permanent war crimes court, which has had to fight off allegations of pursuing a neo-colonial agenda in Africa.
South Africa, Burundi and Gambia have officially notified the United Nations of their intent to pull out of the Rome Statute, the 1998 treaty establishing The Hague-based court. Those withdrawals will take effect in 2017, reported Reuters.
Since its founding in 2002, the ICC has 124 member states and is the first legal body with permanent international jurisdiction to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.