African Leaders Vote to Give Themselves Immunity from War Crimes Prosecutions

Mike Pflanz, Telegraph (London), July 2, 2014

A new pan-African court set up to prosecute the continent’s worst crimes will not be allowed to try sitting heads of state or their cronies after they voted to give themselves immunity.

Africa’s leaders agreed their exemption at a closed-door session of an African Union meeting, then tried to bury the decision in an obscure paragraph of the post-summit communique.

The decision was a “backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights,” said a spokesperson for Amnesty International. More than 40 activist organisations had opposed the move.

Two sitting presidents, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Omar al Bashir of Sudan; one former president, Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast; and one deputy president, William Ruto of Kenya, currently face trials at the International Criminal Court, where there is no such immunity.

The African Union, the continental body, has repeatedly–although not unanimously–argued that global heads of state should be shielded from prosecution while in office.

Critics argue that this removes any incentive to step down at the end of constitutional term limits, and encourages election rigging to stay in power and avoid legal action.

Activists had hoped that the new African Court for Justice and Human Rights, a merger of two existing judicial mechanisms, would start its work free of political interference.

But leaders and government officials attending an AU summit in Equatorial Guinea last week chose to introduce presidential immunity into the new court’s rules. The motion was cryptically titled “Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights”.

It barred the court from prosecuting sitting African leaders and vaguely identified “senior officials”.

“At a time when the African continent is struggling to ensure that there is accountability for serious human rights violations and abuses, it is impossible to justify this decision,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s research and advocacy director for Africa.

“We are deeply disappointed that African heads of state and government have failed to provide the leadership needed to ensure justice for victims of crimes under international law, opting instead to shield themselves and future generations and leaders from prosecution for serious abuses.”

Forty-two African and international civil society and rights groups had objected to the amendment, noting in an open letter before the summit that the impunity violates international and domestic laws as well as the AU’s own constitution.

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  • Einsatzgrenadier

    Great. This is the perfect “I din’ do nuffins” excuse for blacks to orchestrate genocide against the last remaining whites in Rhodesia and South Africa.

    • What they’re doing technically already is genocide, as Category (C) in the definition is “deliberately inflicting on the group in whole or in part conditions calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”. The UN General Assembly voted on this as part of Resolution 260 in late 1948, and it became official in early 1951.

    • propagandaoftruth

      Great. Just time for us to take a tip from Star Trek and…

      Quarantine the place. No interference, prime directive. Let the war crimes begin!

    • A Freespeechzone

      Sounds like the Obama administration.

    • kikz2

      in the news lately.. whites can no longer own land.. zimbabwe i think….

      • Katherine McChesney

        Mugabe’s ruling.

  • It wont matter, because War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity carry international jurisdiction. What this means is that African war criminals with “immunity” would never be able to travel outside Africa without being arrested by Interpol.

    This would make shopping in Paris or banking in Switzerland a bit inconvenient.

  • “Amnesty Int’l is deeply concerned”

    But not for much longer, after someone reminds them that the African leaders are black. Must not be racist.

    Besides, who was expecting that this court would give out punishments any more harsh than a slap on the hand?

    • Amnesty Int’l hasn’t worried themselves overmuch about what is being done to whites in Rhodesia and South Africa. Their silence about the rape rate by foreigners of Swedish women has also been deafening.

  • Truthseeker

    Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or just shake my head at the stories I read here. With leaders like this, is it any wonder that Africa is so dysfunctional?

    • Sick of it

      We’re stuck with the same level of leadership, unfortunately.

      • Sheik Yerbouti

        And he just so happens to be African!

    • dukem1

      Go ahead and laugh. They did have their “summit” meeting in Equatorial Guinea.

      • Did they finish up by hacking off someone’s hands and feet?

        • dukem1

          prolly…course don’ spect the legacy media to report that!

  • dd121

    Did they pass out machetes when they passed the law?

    • propagandaoftruth


  • Dave West

    I love when those “peaceful” and “just” black Africans don’t live up to the expectations of marxists.

  • Tarczan

    “African Court of Justice and Human Rights”

    That’s a real kangaroo court of legal minds.

    • r j p

      Picture a bunch of monkeys sitting around pounding gavels incessantly.

    • Magician


  • IKUredux

    OMG, these Blacks sound like “American” Blacks. The only difference is “American” Blacks are still somewhat suscribed by White law. For now.

  • Zimriel

    I agree with the Africans about something! There is, by definition, no such thing as a war crime.

    When you start a war, all is permissible. The flipside of that is, when you lose, all is permissible against you.

    • The problem with that is one quickly ends up with World War Two’s eastern front. Von Klausewitz said “War is a continuation of politics by other means.” This means that wars are normally fought for political reasons. This suggests to me that these issues should be kept political.

      Using my original example:

      “Soviet Bolshevism needs to be destroyed and replaced.” = Good.
      “Slavs are subhumans who need to be enslaved or exterminated.” = Bad.

  • kikz2

    …..and in other shocking news.. sun rises…….

  • Rurik

    Watch for it. Our African chief is going to follow precedent.

  • r j p

    The politicians in the USA are salivating over this declaration.