Closing Remarks by H.E. Mr. Hailemariam Dessalegn Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the African Union At The Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union
Heads of State and Government, Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
Excellency Mr. Erastus Mwentcha, Deputy Chairperson of the Afircan Union Commission,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you have been following on the media, our Extraordinary Summit has drawn enormous attention. Even before we hold our meeting here today, the fact that we have demonstrated our firm commitment to address the issue of Africa's relations with the ICC has no doubt sent a strong signal to the international community.
We are indeed very serious about this issue and we would like our concerns to be heard loud and clear.
I believe our meeting today has lived up to the expectation and the spirit of the discussion has clearly reflected our disappointment as far as Africa's relationship with the ICC is concerned. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of you for your constructive contributions, which has enriched our discussion on the issue and enabled us to chart a way forward.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very glad to note that we conducted our discussion in a manner that ensures our 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. In this regard, we have reaffirmed the principles deriving from national laws and international customary law by which sitting Head of State or Government and other Senior State officials are granted immunities during their tenure of office.
Accordingly, we have agreed that no charges shall be commenced or continued before any international court or tribunal against any serving Head of State or Government or anybody acting or entitled to act in such capacity during his/her term of office.
To safeguard the constitutional order, stability and integrity of member States, 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.
Furthermore, we have decided to set up a Contact Group of the Executive Council to be led by i ts Chairperson, composed of five (5) members from each region plus Kenya to undertake consultations with the members of the United Nations Security Council, in particular its five Permanent members with a view to engaging with them on all concerns of the 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 12 November 2013.
If our request for deferral does not get a response until then, we have agreed to request for postponement of the trial.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, In our decision, w e have stressed that the ICC is a Court of last resort and noted the efforts being made to expand the African Court on Human and People's Rights to try international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
We have, therefore, requested the Commission to expedite this process to deal with international crimes in accordance with the relevant decisions of the Policy Organs of our Union.
We have also requested African States Parties to the Rome Statute to introduce amendments to the Statute with a view to ensuring recognition to the African regional Judicial mechanisms dealing with international crimes in accordance with the principle of complimentarity.
Particularly, we requested members of the Bureau of the Assembly of State Parties to inscribe on the agenda of the forthcoming sessions of the Assembly the issue of indictment of African sitting Heads of State and Government by the ICC and its consequences on peace, stability and reconciliation in African Union member States.
Above and beyond this, we have agreed that any member State that wises to refer a case to the ICC may inform and seek the advice of the African Union. We have also agreed that Kenya should send a letter to the United Nations Security Council requesting for deferral, in conformity with Article 16 of the Rome Statute, of the proceedings against the President and Deputy President of Kenya that would be endorsed by all African States Parties.
We will review the progress made in the implementation of our decision when we will be meeting again in an Extraordinary session sometime by the end of November 2013.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
During our extraordinary session, we have endorsed the appointment of the new Commissioner for Peace and Security. On behalf of the Assembly, I would like to once again congratulate H.E.
Ambassador Ismail Chergui, on his election. I also wish him all the very best in the successful discharge of his heavy responsibilities.
Finally, I wish to once again express my sincere thanks to all of you for your support and cooperation in ensuring the success of our Extraordinary Summit.
I conclude my remarks b y wishing you a safe journey back home. I thank you.