On Wednesday, 8th March, 2017 from 4pm to 6pm, ACILA held a Roundtable Discussion (RTD) on the recent decision by African leaders urging African states to withdraw collectively from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC). The theme of the RTD was “Africa and the International Criminal Court: African Leaders “Strategy for Collective Withdrawal from the ICC” and Implications for Victims of International Crimes.”
The discussion was held against the backdrop of several developments on the international criminal justice front, including persistent calls by African leaders for mass withdrawal from the ICC; South Africa’s withdrawal from the ICC; a notice of withdrawal by Burundi; and an indication by President Adama Barrow that the Gambia will not withdraw from the ICC.
Panelists reviewed and discussed the non-binding decision that was adopted by African leaders on 31st January, 2017, for mass withdrawal from the ICC; analyzed the legal and political effects of the decision; previewed the likely effect of the mass withdrawal for victims of international crimes and proposed solutions for bringing perpetrators of international crimes to justice in different forums in domestic and regional courts in Africa and at the ICC.
Some of the Panel members included Justice Emile Short, Former Judge, United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; Mr. Henry Kwasi Prempeh, Legal and Governance Consultant; Dr. Franklin Oduro, Transitional Justice Expert & Head of Research and Programs/Deputy Director, CDD-Ghana; and Mr. William Nyarko, Executive Director, ACILA.
There were also be representation from government, political parties, Diplomatic Community, international criminal justice practitioners and advocates, academia, civil society, and the media.
The Ambassadors of Italy, Giovanni Favilli, and the Netherlands, Ron Strikker, in Ghana who attended the RTD said that they support efforts to get justice for victims of international crimes in Africa and therefore commended organizations, including the Africa Center for International Law and Accountability (ACILA), for their efforts in focusing attention on victims and not perpetrators who commit international crimes against innocent and powerless victims.