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Sierra Leone’s Ambassador Bangali blames ICC for its frosty relationship with the African Union

Sierra Leone’s Ambassador Bangali blames ICC for its frosty relationship with the African Union

Sierra Leone’s multi-accredited emissary to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ambassador Andrew Bangali on Thursday 18th April 2013 said without mincing his words that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is to be blamed for the frosty relationship the court is having with the African Union Commission.  (Photo:  From (L-R) Ambassador Bangali, Madam Intelmann and Ambassador Katende)

He cited an example of the request made by the then Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Jean Ping on behalf of the 54 African Heads of State of the Continent on the deferral of the indictment of the Sudanese leader, Omar Al-Bashir which is still being ignored by the ICC.

He also wanted to know what was the fate of the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta whose co-defendant, Mr. Francis Muthaura, erstwhile Kenya’s Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet has been acquitted and discharged by the Court.

Ambassador Bangali who doubles as Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the Africa Union Commission and Vice Dean of the Group of ECOWAS Ambassadors’ made this statement during a very interactive discussion when the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann visited Addis Ababa to exchange views with States Parties to the Rome Statute on the workings of the Court and its relationship with the African Union Commission.

Ambassador Intelmann had requested His Excellency Mr. Mull Katende, Uganda’s Ambassador to Ethiopia to convene a meeting in his country’s capacity as a member of the Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute.

The Ambassador, like his colleagues, expatiated on a number of other issues which the ICC was still in disagreement with the African Union Commission and questioned why the Court is going after Africans and turning a blind eye to atrocities that are being committed elsewhere in the world.

In her statement, the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann said the ICC is a court of last resort.

She said that 18 cases are before the Court including eight from Africa, adding that it has in its custody 31 suspects.

“There are now 122 countries which are States Parties to the Rome Statute. 34 are from Africa and the latest to join is Ivory Coast,” Ambassador Intelmann said.

She said the relationship between her institution and the African Union should be handled through quiet dialogue, adding that the court’s new Prosecutor Ms. Fatou Bensouda’s style is different from her predecessor, Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

The President of the Assembly of States Parties explained that every day the court is facing impossible situations, pointing out that some of the suspects on international arrest warrants like Joseph Kony of the Lord Resistance Army are yet to be arrested. She applauded the move made by the fugitive M23 rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda who surrendered himself to the US Embassy in Kigali since he was wanted by the ICC for suspected war crimes.

Ambassador Intelmann, however, refused to proffer comments on the issue of Presidents Kenyatta and Al-Bashir, saying the relationship between the United Nations Security Council and the ICC was the most difficult thing.

Other delegations who spoke during the meeting were very concerned why the African Court should not be given criminal jurisdiction to try its own people.

The meeting which was climaxed by an impressive interactive question and answer session was chaired by the Ugandan Envoy to Addis Ababa, Ambassador Katende.

Mr. Amadu Koroma, Sierra Leone’s Deputy Chief of Mission to Ethiopia also attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, on 17th April, Ambassador Bangali chaired the meeting to adopt the report of the Joint Retreat of the African Union Commission and the Permanent Representatives’ Advisory Sub- Committee on Administrative, Budgetary and Financial Matter which took place from 27th February to 2nd March, 2013 in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

In a related development, Executive Director of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA), Mr. Gaetan Rimwanguiya Ouedraogo paid an audience granting visit on Ambassador Bangali last week at the Chancery.

CoDA is a Forum established to promote free dialogue on Africa’s security, peace, governance and socio-economic development.

The Organization aims to facilitate free discussion among state and non-state actors for the promotion of peace and security, as well as the political and socio-economic development in Africa; influence decision-makers at the highest level in both the public and the private sectors for the advancement of Africa and be a think-tank on emerging issues, especially critical issues of development, among others.

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