Namibia is considering quitting the Rome Statute, which created the International Criminal Court (ICC), an official said.
The decision follows the Cabinet’s approval of a recommendation by the ruling South West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo).
Swapo has over the years repeatedly criticised the ICC for being biased against African and other developing countries.
The party argues that the ICC was more likely to investigate and deal with African situations, while ignoring other continents.
The Namibian Cabinet also tasked the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation to review the country’s foreign policy.
Namibian Information minister Tjekero Tweya who addressed journalists in Windhoek, did not say when the government would withdraw, only stating that technical issues needed to be sorted out first.
“Cabinet approved Namibia’s position regarding possible withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, given the discussions of the Swapo Party central committee on the issue,” The Namibian newspaper quoted Mr Tweya Tuesday as saying.
In fact, President (Hage) Geingob urged fellow African countries to pull out of the ICC if it was becoming an “abomination” by not serving its mandate, said the minister.
In a prepared speech he was supposed to deliver at the African Union summit in South Africa, but was not delivered earlier this year, President Geingob said the ICC should stay out of the domestic affairs of countries such as Kenya.
“No institution or country can dictate to Africans, who and by whom they should be governed. The ICC must therefore stay out of Kenya’s domestic affairs,” he said, referring to the case in which the ICC accused Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta of crimes against humanity.
The ICC is the first permanent treaty-based, international criminal court.
It was established to help end impunity by punishing the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.
The ICC is an independent organisation and is not part of the United Nations system.
Its seat is at The Hague in the Netherlands. Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by State Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, individuals and other entities.
The Rome Statute took effect on July 1, 2002 after ratification by 60 countries.
A mass walk-out
Some 123 countries are state parties to the Rome Statute, out od which 34 are from Africa, 19 are Asia-Pacific states, 18 are from eastern Europe, 27 from Latin American and the Caribbean and 25 are from Western European and other states.
Namibia signed the Rome Statute in 2002, committing the country to cooperating with the ICC to fight impunity worldwide.
Last month, South Africa authorities said the country planned to withdraw from the ICC over concerns that the court was biased against African nations.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has also sworn to lead a mass walk-out of African countries from the ICC.
SOURCE: AFRICA REVIEW