ACP lawmakers take stand on ICC, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe
Addis Ababa, 27 November 2013/ ACP:The ACP Parliamentary Assembly pronounced united positions on three pressing issues for the 79-member group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states, including on the International Criminal Court, the deteriorating security situation in the Central African Republic, and Zimbabwe-EU relations.
The ACP Parliamentary Assembly declared its full support of the African Union (AU) Heads of States decision taken in October that “no charges shall be commenced or continued before any International Court or Tribunal against any serving AU Head of State or Government… during their term in office”. It called for the rapid expansion of the mandate of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) to try international crimes.
The move stems from the case of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, who are accused of crimes against humanity, related to their alleged roles in the violence after Kenya’s 2007 election, which left more than 1,100 people dead, and several hundred thousand displaced.
President Kenyatta is the first serving Head of State to stand trial at the ICC.
The ACP declaration stressed that the handling of ICC cases should contribute to national reconciliation and hearing. It was adopted with reservations from the delegates of Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados.
Central African Republic (CAR)
ACP Members of Parliament strongly condemned the resurgence of violence in the CAR, including atrocities and human rights violations committed against civilians by elements of the former Seleka armed groups.
The declaration urged ACP states to contribute to the Trust Fund set up by the International Contact Group in support of CAR, as well as provide troops to assist the Africa-led International Mission to the CAR (MISCA). The United States, France and the EU have also promised to boost support from MISCA.
EU sanctions on Zimbabwe
The Parliamentary Assembly called for the lifting of EU sanctions against the Zimbabwe government and the normalisation of relations between Zimbabwe and the EU.
The country has been under sanctions from the EU since 2002, due to political violence and poor human rights records. Restrictions include travel bans and freezing of assets for certain individuals and companies.
The ACP declaration appealed to the EU to respect the verdicts by SADC (Southern African Development Community) and AU on the harmonised elections of July 2013.
“Zimbabwe cannot afford to continue to be arrested to the demons of its historical past… It is high time that our European partners realise the futility of continuing an intransigent relational dynamic based on Article 96 sanctions… I call upon our European partners to tear down this Berlin Wall of our time and allow for a free engagement with Zimbabwe,” pleaded MP Hon. Makhosini Hlongwane.
– ACP Press