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Malawi opposes ICC withdrawal again

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The Malawi Government has reiterated that it sees no reasons to re-consider its membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC), despite areas of concern about some operations and attitude of the organisation.

Malawi’s stand contradicts Tuesday’s resolution by the African Union (AU) meeting in Addis Ababa for a mass withdrawal of member states from the ICC.

The AU started proposing the decision at its meeting in February 2016. During this year’s heads of state of summit, the decision also took a decisive debate with a resolution on mass withdrawal that was only opposed by Senegal and Nigeria.

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Asked separately if Malawi will be reconsidering its ICC membership after Tuesday’s resolution, Solicitor General, Janet Banda, and spokesperson in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rejoice Shumba, said Malawi has not changed its stand on the matter.

The statement which the ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs issued on the matter said Malawi is convinced that the best thing to do is to agitate for change from within the ICC.

“We believe for this to be achieved, there is need for many African countries to remain parties to the Rome Statute. It should be appreciated that it’s about numbers, and the fewer the ICC African Member States, the more difficult it will be to change things.

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“We strongly feel that the inherent challenges in the ICC should be dealt with from within the ICC, and not out of it. The Government of the Republic of Malawi respects sovereign decisions by those countries that opted to withdraw although it would have loved if they had remained within the organisation,” the statement reads.

South Africa and Burundi have already decided to withdraw, accusing the ICC of undermining their sovereignty and unfairly targeting of Africans.

Law professor at Chancellor College of the University of Malawi, Edge Kanyongolo, said the AU’s decision is motivated by interests of the political elite.

“If we withdraw from the ICC where would the Africans who are victims of war crime and crime against humanity go? Because we don’t have functioning alternatives, another aspect is that Africans in their respective countries should propose this on their own democratically,” he said.

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