CHRR urge Malawi govt to domesticate Rome Statute, hail Habre sentencing

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has renewed its call on Malawi government to domesticate the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in line with the Statute’s principle of complementarity.

CHRR  boss Timothy Mtambo
CHRR boss Timothy Mtambo

Speaking from Dakar, Senegal, after witnessing the sentencing of former Chad ruler, Hissene Habre over crimes against humanity, CHRR Human Rights Advocacy Coordinator, Fletcher Simwaka, said Habre’s successful trial in a foreign country, Senegal, is a moment of reflection for Malawi regarding her legal position on serious crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and war aggression.

“Cognizant of the fact that Malawi is party to the Rome Statute, having ratified it in 2002, Malawi can make good on that commitment through domesticating the Statute through either a stand-alone law or penal code,” said Simwaka.

He said it is encouraging to note that Malawi’s Constitution has a progressive Bill of Rights which reflects well on other international human rights instruments such as International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which the country is party to, a status, he said, could simplify the country’s domestication of the Statute.

So far, only Genocide is criminalized in the country’s penal code, leaving out war crimes, crimes against humanity, aggression within ambits of the ICC.

CHRR has since welcomed the life imprisonment sentence handed down to the former Chadian leader, saying the landmark ruling is a dawn of hope for international criminal justice in Africa where most leaders are championing impunity and immunity.

Habre ruing is of historical importance to note that the trial in Senegal of the former Chadian leader by the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC)—a special tribunal set up by the African Union under a deal with Senegal—- is the first of its kind.

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