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Vol 57 No 24

Published 2nd December 2016

'Afrexit' on hold

Member states rallied round at the Hague to defend the Court against political attacks

What did not happen at the International Criminal Court's Assembly of State Parties meeting in the Hague on 16-24 November was as important as what did. No new withdrawals followed those of Burundi, South Africa and Gambia in October. Kenya, now quite isolated, did not take over the ASP and bulldoze delegates as it has repeatedly since 2013. ICC Africa issues were discussed cordially at a special open session rather than under a cloud of threats from the African Union. There was no cajoling of states to stay in the ICC in exchange for concessions to water down the Rome Statute. Delegates realise that previous attempts to appease Kenya hadn't worked, were costly, emboldened autocrats and damaged the Court's credibility. Yet tensions still surround unresolved African concerns and some wonder if ASP delegates' current determination will last.

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