AU fast-tracks creation of African court

African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa

ADDIS ABABA: The African Union starts today the fast-tracking of the ratification of a protocol that will vest the continent's international criminal jurisdiction on a regional court, as the push for Africa's mass withdrawal from the Rome Statute gains momentum.

Member States at the AU Summit, which kicks off today at Addis Ababa are expected to start lobbying for the signing of the Malabo Protocol that will create an African court, usurping the international criminal jurisdiction, that are currently vested on the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Malabo Protocol proposes the collapsing of the two Courts – African Court of Justice and the African Human Rights Court, into African Court of Justice and Human Rights, which the African States argue they will use to fight international crimes as it cuts links with the Hague-based ICC.

Malabo Protocol

A source at the Foreign Affairs ministry, who could not be quoted as he is not allowed to divulge such information to media, Wednesday told The Standard that Kenya was particularly keen on pushing for the signing of the Malabo Protocol, adopted in Malabo Equatorial Guinea on June 27, last year.

"Kenya and Uganda have particularly been on the fore front for the signing of this protocol and at the legislative levels, we have passed two crucial motions at both the National Assembly and Senate for the withdrawal from the Rome Statute. We will be among key nations pushing for the signing of the protocol," said the highly placed source.

According to the draft copy on the protocol, which will be a guiding document in the debate on the process, the signing and ratification of the protocol is expected to open the window for many nations to pull out of the Rome Statute.

Proponents of the Malabo Protocol argue in the document the African court will have an expanded list of crimes from the four that are under the jurisdiction of ICC.