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AU approves immunity for African Leaders in the African Court of Justice and Human Rights

African Union Summit at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa © AFP

 

African leaders at the recent AU Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, approved the proposal to grant immunity to sitting heads of State and senior government officials in the African Court of Justice and Human Rights; as part of the Court’s expansion to include war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

This decision has been heavily criticized by civil society. Amnesty International (AI) referred to this decision as a “backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights.” AI also pointed out that the ICC would still be able to investigate sitting heads of State and senior government officials, in states which have ratified the Rome Statute, regardless of this decision.

The proposal  of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights needs ratification by 15 AU member states before it takes effect.

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