(Johannesburg) – Over 45 civil society organizations from close to 30 African countries wrote today to African member countries of the International Criminal Court (ICC) urging their renewed support for the court’s efforts to combat grave international crimes. The letter was sent on prior to the 18th summit of the African Union (AU), which will take place on January 29 and 30 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The organizations wrote that it was of crucial importance for African governments and the AU to provide concrete support for the ICC, particularly given the challenges facing the court and the current focus of its investigations in Africa.

African countries should work toward improved relations between the ICC and the AU, enforce the court’s decisions, respect their obligations under the ICC Statute, and support prosecutions of international crimes before their national courts. The election of a highly qualified African, Fatou Bensouda, as the new ICC prosecutor was a positive development, the organizations said.

“The ICC needs full cooperation from states to effectively curb impunity for the worst international crimes,” said Oby Nwankwo, Executive Director of the Civil Resource Development and Document Centre in Nigeria. “It is high time African governments and the AU put themselves on the right side of history and support justice for victims, not abusive leaders.”

The organizations that signed the letter are:

  1. Action of Christian Activists for Human Rights in Shabunda (ACADHOSHA), Democratic Republic of Congo
  2. African Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights (RADDHO), Senegal
  3. African Association for Human Rights (ASADHO), Democratic Republic of Congo
  4. Amnesty International, Ghana
  5. Amnesty International, Kenya
  6. Amnesty International, Mali
  7. Amnesty International, Senegal
  8. Amnesty International, Sierra Leone
  9. Amnesty International, Togo
  10. Amnesty International, Zimbabwe
  11. Amuria District Development Agency (ADDA), Uganda
  12. Association of Human and Prisoner Rights (ADHUC), Republic of Congo
  13. Association of Victims of Crimes of the Regime of Hissene Habre, Chad
  14. Benin Coalition for the ICC, Benin
  15. Botswana Centre for Human Rights (DITSHWANELO), Botswana
  16. Burkinabe Movement for Human and Peoples' Rights. MBEJUS, Burkina Faso
  17. Burundi Coalition for the ICC, Burundi
  18. Cameroon Coalition for the ICC, Cameroon
  19. Central African Republic Coalition for the ICC, Central African Republic
  20. Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, Sierra Leone
  21. Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Malawi
  22. Children Education Society (CHESO), Tanzania
  23. Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), Nigeria
  24. Club of Friends of Congolese Law, Democratic Republic of Congo
  25. Coalition for Justice and Accountability (COJA), Sierra Leone
  26. Coalition for the International Criminal Court, with offices in Benin and the Democratic Republic of Congo
  27. Coalition of Eastern NGOs (CENGOS), Nigeria
  28. Congolese Coalition for Transitional Justice (CCJT), Democratic Republic of Congo
  29. Congolese Initiative for Justice and Peace (ICJP), Democratic Republic of Congo
  30. Human Rights & Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND), Sudan
  31. Human Rights Network-Uganda (HURINET), Uganda
  32. Human Rights Watch, with offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa
  33. International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Kenya
  34. International Crime in Africa Programme (ICAP), Institute for Security Studies (ISS), South Africa
  35. Ivorian Coalition for the ICC, Côte d’Ivoire
  36. League for Peace, Human Rights and Justice (LIPADHOJ), Democratic Republic of Congo
  37. National Coalition on Affirmative Action (NCAA), Nigeria
  38. Network of Human Rights Associations from Sud Kivu (RADHOSKI), Democratic Republic of Congo
  39. Nigeria Coalition on the ICC (NCICC), Nigeria
  40. Speak Human Rights & Environmental Initiative, Mauritius
  41. Southern Africa Litigation Centre, South Africa
  42. Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD), Zambia
  43. Synergy of Congolese NGOs for Victims (SYCOVI), Democratic Republic of Congo
  44. Synergy of Women for the Victims of Sexual Violence (SFVS), Democratic Republic of Congo
  45. Uganda Coalition on the International Criminal Court, Uganda
  46. Uganda Victims Foundation (UVF), Uganda
  47. West African Bar Association (WABA), Nigeria