International Criminal Court to set up office in Ethiopia

Sang-Hyun Song and  Jean Ping
ICC President Sang-Hyun Song and African Union Commission Chairperson Jean Ping meeting in Addis Ababa

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is set to establish a liaison office in Addis Ababa after years of discussions on the initiative.

ICC President Sang-Hyun Song and African Union Commission Chairperson Jean Ping meeting in Addis Ababa (AU Website)
This comes after Judge Sang-Hyun Song, President of the ICC, concluded a two day visit to Addis Ababa, the headquarters of the African Union (AU) and met with its Commission Chairperson Jean Ping, who reiterated the body’s commitment to end impunity.

A statement by the ICC said that both Ping and Song agreed that the AU and the ICC share the common value of ending impunity and bringing about lasting peace.

“They also agreed to work to facilitate the establishment of the Liaison Office that would encourage dialogue and exchange of information and would thus be for the mutual benefit of the two institutions” the statement said.

African states have feared that The Hague was stalling on financing a launch to the liaison office after African countries collectively resolved not to cooperate with the ICC in arresting and handing over Sudanese President Omar El-Bashir who is wanted by the court for war crimes he allegedly committed in Darfur,

This week the ICC judges added the charge of genocide to the list of counts against the Sudanese head of state prompting criticism from Ping who said that the latest move will not help resolve the crisis in Darfur.

The Kenyan Attorney-general Amos Wako, who was mandated by African countries to write to the ICC to question the delay in establishing the office, was yesterday happy that finally, The Hague had agreed to fund the office.

“Those are good news because African member-states to the Rome Statute were concerned about the inactivity of the ICC when it had agreed to set up the office. It is a good reply to the letter that I wrote on their behalf,” he said.

The International Criminal Court is the only permanent international court established with the mission to help put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes, namely the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes.