Arusha, January 28, 2012 (FH) - Over 30 African civil society organizations have written a letter to African state parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) requesting them to reaffirm their support for the ICC and its goal of ending impunity for egregious international crimes.

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The letter was sent in advance of the 19th summit of the African Union due to convene in Addis-Abeba on January 29-30.

Greeting the election of two Africans for the positions of Chief Prosecutor and judge of the ICC, respectively Fatou Bensouda and Chile Eboe Osuji, the signatories hope " that African states and the AU will lend their support to the newly elected ICC Prosecutor, while fully respecting her independence".

"Several suspects against whom the court has issued arrest warrants have still not been arrested and surrendered for trial, in relation to situations in Uganda, the DRC, the Darfur region of Sudan, and Libya", the letter reads.

"In the face of this challenges, and because all situations currently under investigation at the ICC are in Africa, renewed support from African states and the AU are of particular importance", the organizations further state.

They call for the creation of an ICC liaison office in Addis Ababa which" would contribute to consolidating the understanding between the ICC and the AU".

They also assert that "full cooperation with the ICC and respect for the court's decisions are of paramount importance to preserve the court's effectiveness and ability to deliver justice", especially with regards to the execution of pending arrest warrants.

Sudanese President al-Bashir has been indicted by the ICC but still travels to some African countries signatories to the ICC Treaty. The AU has called upon its member states to disregard the ICC's arrest warrant.


© Hirondelle News Agency