- Title: International Criminal Court holds meeting on relationship with Africa
- Date: 18th November 2016
- Summary: THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS (NOVEMBER 18, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF ASSEMBLY OF STATE PARTIES CONFERENCE ICC CHIEF PROSECUTOR, FATOU BENSOUDA, WALKING (SOUNDBITE) (English) ICC CHIEF PROSECUTOR, FATOU BENSOUDA, SAYING: "I always say it is for the Assembly of State Parties that should entertain this dialogue amongst themselves, because those states that have withdrawn so far are State Parties to the Rome statute, so that dialogue has to go on, amongst themselves - these State Parties, to discuss what are the concerns that some of these states have." BENSOUDA WITH JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) ICC CHIEF PROSECUTOR, FATOU BENSOUDA, SAYING: "It may be the fact that the court is operational, it is functional, it is working well and it is showing that it can be effective, not everybody can be comfortable with that also, we see. Because this is holding people to account for accountability for crimes that are very very serious, so there is bound to be a pushback, maybe now it is in Africa we are seeing this, but perhaps when we will operate in another region, we will also have a different kind of pushback. But it is just the kind of work that we do, that does not make everybody feel comfortable." DELEGATES SOUTH AFRICAN MINISTER OF JUSTICE, MICHAEL MASUTHA, WALKING DOWN STAIRS AND THROUGH A SET OF DOORS (SOUNDBITE) (English) SOUTH AFRICAN JUSTICE MINISTER, MICHAEL MASUTHA, SAYING: "Well if this body is genuinely saying that there shall be no immunity for perpetrators of cross human right violations, be it sitting heads of state or any other officials in government, why don't they start with those former heads of state who are known who they are, where they are and what they did, having started wars elsewhere which have been declared to have been illegitimate wars in violation of international law, let them sanction the prosecutor and the court to pursue those persons, then we will see the universality of the application of rule of law in action." MASUTHA WITH JOURNALIST (SOUNDBITE) (English) SOUTH AFRICAN JUSTICE MINISTER, MICHAEL MASUTHA, SAYING: "Everybody talks about the need for dialogue, but nobody gives the details of what that dialogue should entail and we are saying unless this body is specific about what dialogue exactly is being called for and whether there is a willingness to open the dialogue specifically on this issue, then the basis of our decision remains and until a forum of this structure is created to facilitate such a dialogue, there is no basis on which we should be able to retract our position." DELEGATES IN THE CONFERENCE HALL
- Embargoed: 3rd December 2016 19:49
- Keywords: ICC International Criminal Court Africa prosecutor United Nations U.N. Putin justice law
- Location: THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS
- City: THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS
- Country: Netherlands
- Topics: Government/Politics,United Nations
- Reuters ID: LVA00158Z48QV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The International Criminal Court's (ICC's) Assembly of State Parties discussed on Friday (November 18) notifications by several African states to withdraw from the court.
Gambia has notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from the ICC, which will take effect from Nov. 10, 2017, according to a U.N. spokesperson, making it the third country to quit The Hague-based tribunal.
In October, Gambia's Information Minister Sheriff Bojang described the ICC as "an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of colour, especially Africans".
South Africa and Burundi both notified the United Nations in October of their withdrawal from the court, which will take effect in one year.
The Assembly of State Parties, the management oversight and legislative body of the International Criminal Court, decided to reinforce dialogue between the court and the withdrawing countries.
The ICC is facing criticism from other parts of the world as well.
Earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order on Wednesday (November 16) removing Russia's signature from the ICC's founding treaty, piling pressure on a court that is already reeling from withdrawals by some African countries.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday (November 17) he might follow Russia and withdraw from the ICC in response to Western criticism of a rash of killings unleashed by his war on drugs.
Most African and European countries continue to support the court, the first permanent international war crimes tribunal. But many expect it to face increased diplomatic pressure from the United States under President-elect Donald Trump, who has promised a less internationalist foreign policy stance.
The ICC, based in The Hague, Netherlands, was founded when 120 countries adopted its founding treaty in 1998. It is seen as a successor to the Nuremberg trials after World War II and ad-hoc U.N. war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
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