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article imageAfrican rulers unite on giving themselves immunity to war crimes

By Walter McDaniel     Jul 2, 2014 in World
African leaders have banded together to vote in favor of immunity to war crimes for their administrations. If this goes through they would have a free license to commit atrocities in many areas.
In a summit that barred out the media, many African leaders voted to protect heads of state and why they call "senior officials" according to an Al Jazeera report. What they mean by "senior" is up to debate but we've seen it used to apply to many different government positions in the past.
They do have the power to do this since the members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) from African regions far outnumber the other voters. This disparity has led to outrage in the media and problems with jurisdiction in Kenya have led to a recent resignation. The court is intended to bring justice to those who will not receive it in normal courts. Human rights abusers are their main targets and the voting system causes problems with that.
The situation in Kenya does triple duty as an example of everything that has gone wrong with the trial system. President Uhuru Kenyatta was supposed to be tried earlier and not only came back into power but also worked on the immunity legislation and approved a motion to withdraw Kenya from the ICC. His actions demonstrate every difficulty facing the ICC.
This is happening at the moment because multiple top officials are being tried with the court. The ICC has had a difficult history that has been criticized by many on websites such as Foreign Affairs. Due to the previously mentioned problems this has proven difficult so far.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that most countries support it at different levels. The Economist has a good report on this issue. The fact that voices from all over the planet weigh in is positive but it also slows down proceedings. As of now the plan which gives African leaders immunity is slated to go off with fewer problems than the actual court it will apply to.
More about War crimes, Justice, Africa, Voting
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