The ICC and its Deteriorating Relationship with Africa in Light of the Kenya Cases: What Should the EU Position be?

9 / 2013

The African Union (AU), a union consisting of 54 African States, held an Extraordinary Summit on 11-12 October 2013, to discuss its relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC or the Court). The meeting took place just weeks before the trial of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled to begin, and was clearly intended to voice discontent and put on hold the ongoing ICC proceedings against Kenyatta as well as his deputy, Vice-President William Ruto. Before the Summit, there were even widespread rumors that the Assembly of the AU would call for a mass withdrawal of African States Parties from the ICC Statute. Eventually, the Assembly did not go that far and took two important, but less controversial decisions. It called for the granting of immunities to Heads of States from prosecutions by international criminal tribunals and requested a deferral of the ICC cases against Kenyatta and Ruto through a resolution adopted by the UN Security Council (UNSC). After providing a background to the Kenya cases, this policy brief aims to evaluate what the position of the EU and its Member States as outspoken supporters of the ICC and the fight against impunity should be, especially given the fact that France and the UK, as permanent UNSC members, could block a UNSC deferral at any time.