With thirty-four of its member states being state parties to the ICC, the AU’s main disagreement is not with the ICC, as a court, but rather with the prosecutorial policy, the powers of the UNSC and more fundamentally with some of the provisions of the Rome Statute of the ICC. For many African scholars, as well as ordinary people, there is a serious concern that the dominant powers are using the UNSC as a back door to impose their will on weaker countries. In addition to that, the ICC’s inability to bring any case against the powerful non-African countries raises serious doubts about its independence and capacity to address human rights violations. The solution to the current challenges affecting relations between ICC and AU may require a generational shift of attitude: African states must first totally reject impunity and establish national and regional mechanisms that will ensure accountability even at the highest levels of office, while the ICC must guarantee more understanding, credibility and scrupulousness within its procedures.
Mehari Taddele Maru, International Consultant, DSL (JL Giessen), MPA (Harvard), MSc (Oxford) and LLB (AAU)