The African Union (AU) has proposed an expansion of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to include war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide; as part of its expansion, immunity will be accorded to senior government officials and sitting heads of state.
A draft plan to accord immunity to senior government officials and sitting heads of state in the proposal to expand the African Court of Justice and Human Rights has been approved by African justice ministers and Attorneys-General. African attorneys general have also recommended that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) be requested to make an advisory opinion on the issue of immunity for heads of state under international law.
African presidents will consider the immunity proposal at the 23rd African Union summit scheduled to take place from 20 – 27 June 2014 in Malabo, Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
Civil society groups have opposed inclusion of immunity in the proposed expansion of the African Court with over 40 civil society groups in opposition. Stephen Lamony of the Coalition for the international Criminal Court (CICC) has stated “Insulating heads of state and senior government officials alleged to have committed serious crimes from trial is outrageous,” and “Africa should be moving forward in the fight against impunity, not regressing”.