African leaders have endorsed a proposal by Kenya to push for withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
They believe the court unfairly targets the continent for prosecution while ignoring rights abuses elsewhere in the world.
The decision, which was made at the African Union (AU), is a proposal for member states to create a “road map for the withdrawal of African nations,” according to a Kenyan presidential statement.
“Elsewhere in the world, many things happen — many flagrant violations of human rights — but nobody cares,” said Chad’s President Idriss Deby, who was elected as AU chairman at the meeting.
The decision to leave the court is not legally binding and it is up to an individual country to pull out from the ICC’s founding Rome Statute.
The ICC was established over a decade ago in an attempt to bring to justice war criminals and perpetrators of genocide who have never been tried at home.
The Hague-base tribunal has so far launched investigations into events in eight African nations, namely Kenya, Ivory Coast, Libya, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda and Mali.
The latest case relating to an African leader is the war crimes trial of the former Ivory Coast president, Laurent Gbagbo, that started in late January.
However, the new trial has prompted the African nations to once again cast doubt on the international justice system, saying the ICC unjustly targets Africans for prosecution.
“We refuse to be carried along in a vehicle that has strayed off course to the detriment of our sovereignty, security and dignity as Africans,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement.
He was involved in a failed case at the court for purportedly masterminding deadly post-election violence in the east African country in 2007-2008.
Back in November 2015, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom also said the ICC is “no longer a court for all.”