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141 groups reject immunity for African leaders

The organizations include African and international groups and have a presence in 40 African countries.
The African Union (AU) Office of the Legal Counsel yesterday began a meeting in Nairobi ending today with government officials of AU member countries in East Africa to promote ratification of AU treaties.
“The immunity provision is a regrettable departure from the AU’s Constitutive Act, which rejects impunity under article 4,” said George Kegoro, executive director of the International Commission of Jurists-Kenya.
Some African countries like Benin, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and South Africa rule out immunity for sitting officials for serious crimes under their national laws, the groups said.
Discussions are expected to include a newly adopted protocol to extend the African Court’s jurisdiction to trials of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, while providing immunity for sitting leaders and other senior officials.
The protocol to expand the authority of the African Court was adopted at the 23rd African Union summit, in Malabo in June.
This text of the group declaration was drafted by Malawi’s Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, with input from several African organizations and international organizations with a presence in Africa.

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