Pretoria - African countries will meet this month to assess
their continued involvement in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said
the special extra-ordinary summit of African states was scheduled for 12
October in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
"The summit will consider our participation as African
countries in the ICC. Do I give you the outcome of the summit before it sits?
No, I can’t," she said.
"South Africa is going to that meeting to participate,
fully aware of the developments that are taking place. We were there when the
ICC was formed. We have all the rights as member states to sit back and say is
this exactly what we thought we were forming?"
She said Africa’s position would be announced to the world
"Allow us to go, meet, discuss, exchange ideas and come
out with the extra-ordinary summit outcomes. We will not hide them. We will
share with you the details."
Some African leaders have accused the ICC of unfairly
The ICC is currently trying Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta
and his deputy William Ruto for allegedly instigating violence during the
country’s 2007 general election, in which more than 1000 people died.
On Monday, former United Nations secretary general Kofi
Annan said if African victims could get justice in their own countries, there
would be no need for the ICC to step in.
Speaking in Cape Town at the third annual Desmond Tutu
International Peace Lecture, Annan came to the defence of the ICC.
Justice and peace
"On a continent that has experienced deadly conflict,
gross violations of human rights, even genocide, I am surprised to hear critics
ask whether the pursuit of justice might obstruct the search for peace,"
Annan said at the University of the Western Cape.
He said justice and peace were interlinked, and that the one
could not be achieved without the other.
"We must be ambitious enough to pursue both, and wise
enough to recognise, respect and protect the independence of justice," he
"And we must always have the courage to ask ourselves
'who speaks for the victims?'"
Annan bemoaned the fact that "the victims of the worst
crimes" in Africa had been failed because of inaction against the
In most cases, it was Africans who sought justice when
courts in their own countries had failed them.
"In four of the cases on Africa before the court, African
leaders themselves made the referral to the ICC. In two others - Darfur and
more recently Libya - it was the United Nations Security Council, and not the
court, which initiated proceedings," he said.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Annan reiterated that the
ICC had been set up as a court of last resort.