[JURIST] African leaders urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Saturday to drop cases against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto, or suspend the charges until African concerns are considered by the court. Bashir is accused of failing to respond to summons to answer to charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and has evaded arrest despite an ICC arrest warrant against him. Ruto is currently on trial, accused of crimes against humanity for post-election violence [JURIST archive] in 2007-08 in which more than 1,000 people died and more than 600,000 were displaced. African leaders claim the ICC has unfairly targeted Africans [AP report] and urge the ICC to reconsider changes to its founding treaty. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta claims [AFP report] the case against Ruto is very weak.
Kenyatta faced charges from the ICC for crimes against humanity, but the charges were dropped [JURIST report] in December. In response to the charges against Kenyatta and Ruto, the African Union (AU) [official website] unanimously resolved [JURIST report] in 2013 that African heads of state should be immune from prosecution by the ICC. Also in 2013 Kenya’s National Assembly approved a motion [JURIST report] to leave the ICC. Last year the AU called [JURIST report] for African countries to “speak with one voice” against the ICC trials of Kenyatta and Ruto.