President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday expressed Nigeria’s disappointment with the bias shown by the International Criminal Court (ICC) which ignored the request for deferral of prosecution in a number of cases by the African Union.
Jonathan, who spoke at the Extra-Ordinary Summit of Heads of States and Government of African Union to discuss Africa’s relationship with the ICC, especially issues concerning the trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, said if at all the ICC was concerned about the implied allegation of bias, it would have adopted enough proactive steps to redress the allegation and allay the fears of concerned stakeholders, adding that “we think it should”.
President Jonathan, while urging AU member states to demonstrate solidarity with one another on matters arising from their obligations said, “In this regard, it is important that we maintain our unity and speak with one voice on Kenya”.
He also stated that certain Articles of the Rome Statute are of grave concern to Africa, particularly Article 27 which denies immunity to all persons without regard to customary international laws, conventions and established norms, stressing that it must be amended.
In the same vein, Mr. Jonathan said Articles 63 and 98 of the same statute have to be reviewed with a view to bringing them in conformity with the tenets of customary international law, conventions and norms.
Part of his speech read, “In expressing my support for Kenya on its difficulties with the ICC, I will like to acknowledge that five years after the post-election violence of 2007, the people of Kenya have proven to the world that they are capable of expressing their sovereign wishes in a free, fair and credible manner in accordance with democratic norms and values.
“This is a clear demonstration to the world that the people of Kenya are in the best position to determine their own future and deal with their past.
“To further consolidate this, I would like to urge the Kenyan Parliament to hasten its consideration of the Report of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission to facilitate the implementation of its recommendations in order to accelerate the process of national healing.
“What remains is for the international community, in particular, the ICC, to give the elected leaders of Kenya the space to discharge their mandate in meeting the needs and aspirations of their people”.