The African Union (AU) Summit of Heads of State and Government decided on Saturday that no charges shall be commenced or continued before any international court or tribunal against any serving Head of State or Government during a term of office. The Summit in its discussion on the theme: "Africa's relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC)" unanimously made the decision after saying the ICC is unfair in its treatment of African issues.
In the closing of the Summit, AU's Chairperson Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the discussion was made in a manner that ensured the members unity and solidarity.
"We have also adopted our decision speaking with one voice and sending a strong political message on Africa's relationship with the ICC," he said.
"We have resolved that no serving AU Head of State or Government or anybody acting or entitled to act in such capacity shall be required to appear before any international court or tribunal during his term of office," the Chairperson said.
According to Hailemariam, a contact group is set up from the five Africa region to undertake consultations with the members of the Security Council of the United Nations on all concerns of AU in its relationship with the ICC including the deferral of the Kenyan and the Sudan cases in order to obtain their feedback before the beginning of the trial on November 12, 2013.
The progress made in the implementation of the AU's decision would be reviewed in an Extraordinary meeting at the end of November, he said.
Hailemariam said the Summit also "agreed that any member state that wishes to refer a case to the ICC may inform and seek advice of the AU".
Briefing journalists at the end of the session, Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom and AUC Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said the request for deferral is to ensure peace and stability in Kenya and other countries by helping the leaders to remain focused on their responsibility given to them by their people.
All eight of the cases currently open at the ICC are from Africa. Out of the 121 signatory countries to the ICC, 34 are from Africa.
The Summit also endorsed the appointment of Ambassador Smail Chergui of Algeria as a Commissioner for Peace and Security Council. Chergui was sworn in before the Summit. He came as a replacement for his fellow countryman Ramtane Lamamra who was recently appointed Algeria's Foreign Minister.