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ICC urged to review bias on African Leaders

Feb 10, 2016, 10:02 AM | Article By: Hazla Omar

Constitutional Affairs and Justice Minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe has appealed to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to consider complaints from African countries regarding The Hague-based court’s biased treatment of leaders from the continent.

Dr Mwakyembe was speaking during the ICC Second Sub-Regional Seminar of Counsel and the Legal Profession taking place at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC).

“We are witnessing political turmoil boiling all over the world where also cases of breached human rights are the order of the day, yet it is only when such things happen in Africa that The Hague reacts strongly, as if the continent leaders are the devils,” he pointed out. The AU has always demanded to know if the ICC was established to prosecute only African leaders.

On his part, the Registrar of the ICC, Mr Herman Von Hebel, said what the people didn’t understand is that The Hague only deals with countries that have ratified the Rome Statute thus cannot persecute leaders of states that have not.

The ICC has organised the Second Sub-Regional Seminar of Counsel and the Legal Profession taking place here from February 8 to 12, 2016. The five-day gathering of learned friends, according to the coordinating organisation, the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU), is being organised by The Hague-based ICC (also known as ‘the court’) with the financial assistance from the European Commission (EC).

“The seminar follows and builds on the experiences of the previously held, First Sub-Regional Seminar and training held from October 27 to 31 2014 in Dakar, Senegal, and offers an important opportunity for dialogue between the court and legal professionals in the region,” revealed a statement from Mr Don Deya, a PALU Executive, in Arusha.

The ICC event has brought together lawyers admitted to the court’s List of counsel, judges, prosecutors, registrars and other legal practitioners, government officials, as well as members of the academia on issues of mutual interest and concern.

It is also providing a platform to strengthen the legal cooperation with the court; provide an avenue for legal professionals to develop their knowledge and skills and build capacity at the national level, and also to network with their peers.

In addition, the Arusha meeting is giving an update on the activities of the court, as well as to enable discussions on the establishment of an ICC Bar Association. Based in Arusha, PALU is an umbrella association of African lawyers and law societies.

It brings together the continent’s five regional and 54 national lawyers’ associations and individual lawyer-members.

Source: Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)