(Johannesburg) – A group of 124 organizations from more than 25 African countries released a declaration today calling on African governments to advance accountability for grave international crimes at the review conference for the International Criminal Court (ICC). The conference, which will take place in Kampala, Uganda from May 31 to June 11, 2010, is being convened to discuss amendments to the court’s treaty.
"The civil society declaration is a strong showing of support for positive African government action at the Kampala conference and for the ICC more generally," said Oby Nwankwo, executive director of Nigeria’s Civil Resource Development and Documentation Center. "While some leaders have tried to paint Africa as against the ICC, our voices are testament to the fallacy of such claims."
The declaration was developed in consultation with multiple African civil society groups that have collaborated on issues relating to Africa and the ICC over the past year. The declaration does not address proposed amendments to the ICC statute, including aggression, but provides views on other issues of importance for the ICC that will be covered at the conference, such as the impact of justice on victims and cooperation with the court. The review conference’s location in Uganda adds to its significance, as the event can help forge a stronger link between the ICC and Africa, the declaration said. The review conference will also be an important opportunity for victims and civil society to be heard on the ICC.