Africa to establish own court of jusitce

African Union (AU) member states will only refer cases to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a last resort when the African Court of Justice is established with criminal jurisdiction.

This is one of the proposals in the draft convention that seeks to establish a legal framework to address the root causes of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons.

The convention will be tabled before the heads of state summit, which opens today in Uganda.

AU director of political affairs, Emil Egnimbe, says ministers attending the Executive Council meeting had unanimously adopted the proposal.

“The African Union is doing its best to resolve the problem of impunity. We have put in place the African Court of people and human rights, but it cannot judge criminals,” he said.

“We are bridging this gap by establishing the African Court of Justice which will have criminal jurisdiction. When we get our own court we will be required to judge our own people in Africa as opposed to referring our cases to the ICC.”

Members agreed to solve all problems that lead to displacement in Africa by themselves in a collective manner.

“We have established early warning systems on conflicts, and a panel of the wise to resolve them before they o ccur, including an African stand-by force,” he said.

The document that will culminate into the Kampala declaration will require the ratification by 15 member states to become effective.

“We are going to start sensitisation from here and so far the indication we have got is that many member states are ready to sign it,” he said.

Under the Kampala declaration member states will be obliged to offer basic services to refugees from member states.

“Displaced persons are often abandoned and left on their own. IDPs are supposed to be catered for by the host state,” he said.

The Kampala declaration will define the responsibilities of host nations, humanitarian organisations, NGOs as well as armed groups.

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