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AU: African States Should Increase Support for Justice

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(Johannesburg, January 26, 2012) – Over 30 civil society organizations from close to 20 African countries wrote today to African member countries of the International Criminal Court (ICC) urging their renewed support for the court’s efforts to combat grave international crimes. The letter was sent on prior to the 19th summit of the African Union (AU), which will take place on January 29 and 30 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The organizations wrote that it was of crucial importance for African governments and the AU to provide concrete support for the ICC, particularly given the challenges facing the court and the current focus of its investigations in Africa.

African countries should work toward improved relations between the ICC and the AU, enforce the court’s decisions, respect their obligations under the ICC Statute, and support prosecutions of international crimes before their national courts. The election of a highly qualified African, Fatou Bensouda, as the new ICC prosecutor was a positive development, the organizations said.

“The ICC needs full cooperation from states to effectively curb impunity for the worst international crimes,” said Oby Nwankwo, Executive Director of the Civil Resource Development and Document Centre in Nigeria. “It is high time African governments and the AU put themselves on the right side of history and support justice for victims, not abusive leaders.”

The organizations that signed the letter are:

Action of Christian Activists for Human Rights in Shabunda (ACADHOSHA), Democratic Republic of Congo

African Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights (RADDHO), Senegal

African Association for Human Rights (ASADHO), Democratic Republic of Congo Amnesty International, Ghana

Amnesty International, Senegal

Amnesty International, Togo

Association of Human and Prisoner Rights (ADHUC), Brazzaville, Republic of Congo

Benin Coalition for the ICC, Benin

Burundi Coalition for the ICC, Burundi

Cameroon Coalition for the ICC, Cameroon

Central African Republic Coalition for the ICC, CAR

Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, Sierra Leone

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Malawi Children Education Society(CHESO), Tanzania

Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), Nigeria

Club of Friends of Congolese Law, Democratic Republic of Congo

Coalition of Eastern NGOs (CENGOS), Nigeria

Coalition for the International Criminal Court, with offices in Benin and the Democratic Republic of Congo

Congolese Coalition for Transitional Justice (CCJT), Democratic Republic of Congo

Congolese Initiative for Justice and Peace (ICJP), Democratic Republic of Congo Human Rights Network-Uganda (HURINET), Uganda

Human Rights Watch, with offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa

International Commission of Jurists, Kenya

International Crime in Africa Programme (ICAP), Institute for Security Studies (ISS), South Africa Ivorian Coalition for the ICC, Côte d’Ivoire

League for Peace, Human Rights and Justice (LIPADHOJ), Democratic Republic of Congo National Coalition on Affirmative Action (NCAA), Nigeria

Network of Human Rights Associations from Sud Kivu (RADHOSKI), Democratic Republic of Congo

Nigeria Coalition on the ICC (NCICC), Nigeria

Speak Human Rights & Environmental Initiative, Mauritius

Southern Africa Litigation Centre, South Africa

Synergy of Congolese NGOs for Victims (SYCOVI), Democratic Republic of Congo

Uganda Coalition on the International Criminal Court, Uganda

West African Bar Association (WABA), Nigeria

To read the letter, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/node/104825

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