Sunday, July 02, 2017

Zambia: Govt Backtracks On ICC Withdrawal
By Chris Phiri

Government has backtracked on its plan to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.

Justice Minister Given Lubinda told parliament that Zambians had rejected the withdrawal during the nationwide consultation conducted by government.

Lubinda said that over 90% of respondents across the country submitted against withdrawal.

The Justice Minister said that most respondents were of the view that the ICC provided some measure of recourse for internationally committed injustices.

Lubinda said that Zambia would make known its stand to the African Union.

In March the Ministry of Justice announced that it would hold countrywide consultative fora on whether Zambia should leave the ICC or not.

African leaders have often accused the global court of targeting them unfairly, hence pushing for a mass withdrawal.

The African Union backed the push for a collective withdrawal but the decision, taken by African leaders during a closed door session at an AU summit in Ethiopia, was not legally binding.

The continent has 34 signatories to the Rome Statute, the treaty which set up the court.

The debate on the ICC was hugely divisive on the question of whether this should be individual or collective withdrawal.

Burundi, South Africa and The Gambia applied to leave the court - but the case for the latter two seems to have hit a wall.

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