ICC President Sang-Hyun Song and African Union Commission Chairperson Jean Ping meeting in Addis Ababa (AU Website)
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is set to establish a liaison office in Addis Ababa to serve as its branch office in Africa, sources confirm.
Judge Sang-Hyun Song, President of the ICC, concluded a two day visit to the headquarters of the African Union(AU) in Addis Abeba and met with its Commission Chairperson Jean Ping, who reiterated the body’s commitment to end impunity, two months ago. The Economist in its issue on the week of the 20th June 2010 had also reported about the opening of the branch.
“How can such a big organisation that fights genocide, open an office in front of Africa’s top genocide perpetrator, Meles ?’’ our source posited.
While the letter by Genocide Watch sent in March 2009 to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, asking for a full investigation into the Ethiopian government’s complicity in widespread crimes against humanity is still hanging, the opening of the Branch in Addis Ababa just because it is the seat of the African Union is a travesty of justice for some of our respondents.
They added that organisations like Genocide Watch and the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE) need to press ICC to stop from opening its branch in Addis Abeba before the full investigations of the High Commissioner are finalized.
“African states had feared that The Hague was stalling on financing a launch to the liaison office after African countries collectively resolved not to cooperate with the ICC in arresting and handing over Sudanese President Omar El-Bashir who is wanted by the court for war crimes he allegedly committed in Darfur.” Sudan Tribune reported.
The International Criminal Court is the only permanent international court established with the mission to help put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes, namely the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes.