HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's justice minister said Thursday his nation will back any calls for African nations that want to break ties with the International Criminal Court at the continentwide African Union summit this weekend in Ethiopia.
Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa accused the ICC of humiliating African leaders by targeting them, while letting off Western leaders over conflicts in Iraq and Libya. Zimbabwe wants African countries to "stand up and stamp their authority" against ICC bias, he said.
Kenya's president and deputy face allegations for violence that led to the deaths of more than 1,000 people after disputed elections in 2007-08. The 54-member African Union will meet Friday and through the weekend, and may discuss severing ties with the court, Mnangagwa said.
"We have now realized it is only being used against Africans and not against cowboys like George Bush," the former U.S. president and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, he said. "In the lifespan of the ICC, it has not been playing fair with regards to who goes there and who doesn't...it is biased and why should we go to Europe to be tried?"
Zimbabwe has signed the Rome Statute that created the court, but has not ratified it under domestic law and is not bound by its obligations, he said. In neighboring South Africa, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan this week defended the ICC during a peace lecture, South African Press Association reported. Annan said if African victims could get justice in their own countries, there would be no need for the ICC to step in, it reported.
"On a continent that has experienced deadly conflict, gross violations of human rights, even genocide, I am surprised to hear critics ask whether the pursuit of justice might obstruct the search for peace," Annan said at the University of the Western Cape, according to SAPA.
The ICC has sentenced former Liberian leader Charles Taylor to 50 years imprisonment. Sudanese strongman Omar al-Bashir faces two International Criminal Court indictments.