Tanzania has no plan not leave ICC, hopes to stay and lobby reforms—Foreign Minister

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Tanzania has no plans of joining its counterparts in Africa who are shelving the Statute of Rome, International Criminal Court’s founding document, a top official said.

Foreign Affairs and East African Corporation Minister Augustine Mahiga said the country will stick around as a state party and wishes to use the opportunity to lobby for reform and revision of the most contested provisions of the statute.

Mahiga said that the looming mass exodus from the court should send a signal to the global tribunal that it needed to be more “Just and relevant to African countries”

“The fact that some African countries are re-assessing their relationship and reconsidering their membership should serve as a wake up call to the global judicial body”  Mahiga told the citizen newspaper

He said many African countries are not happy with the powers of United Nations Security Council  to refer cases to the ICC because most of the council member states are yet to ratified the Rome statute

“The role of UNSC has led to outcries over unfair targeting of Africans” Mahiga said. adding that “criminals from the developed world are left to go”

Burundi set a precedent in October 2016 when its parliament voted overwhelmingly to leave the court. First Vice President Gaston Sindimwo said the country had founf it “…necessary to withdraw from that organization so we can really be free,”

In April, the ICC opened a preliminary investigation into Burundi, focusing on killings, imprisonment, torture, rape and other sexual violence, as well as enforced disappearances that has engulfed the nation since President Pierre Nkurunziza arm-twisted to extend his rule.

Following Burundi was South Africa. A document confirming the withdrawal plan, signed by South Africa’s International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the nation “found that its obligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation given by the International Criminal Court”.

Last month, The Gambia, from where ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda hails also said it was withdrawing accusing the court of persecution.

Information Minister Sheriff Bojang said “This action is warranted by the fact that the ICC, despite being called the International Criminal Court, is in fact an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of colour, especially Africans,”