HRW: More AU support for ICC needed

June 27, 2011 at 1:48 PM
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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, June 27 (UPI) -- Civil groups from more than 25 countries in Africa called for more regional support for the International Criminal Court, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch said Monday that civil society groups ahead of a summit for the African Union wanted leaders to get in line with the ICC.

Stephen Tumwesigye, an official at Human Rights Network Uganda, said Africa played a role in creating the court and should therefore support its regional actions.

"African states should urge the AU to increase, not scale down, support for holding the worst rights abusers to account," he said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch said the AU called on its members to not cooperate with the 2005 arrest warrant issued for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Similar action was taken regarding Kenya.

Though Ivory Coast isn't a party to the Rome Statute that created the courts, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara requested the ICC look into atrocities allegedly committed by both sides in a post-election conflict that pushed the country to the brink of civil war.

Human Rights Watch last week said that wasn't enough. The ICC should look into violations committed in Ivory Coast "over the past decade," the rights group said.

The AU summit kicks off Thursday in Equatorial Guinea.

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