Malawi government has reiterated its commitment to the Rome Statute of International Criminal Justice (ICC) by stating that it will not take heed of calls from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to withdraw from ICC ahead of the 25th African Union Summit, which will take place in South African from June 7 to 15.
The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu and spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Quent Kalichero were quoted in The Sunday Times of May 31, 2015 that Malawi remained a member of ICC and had no intentions to pull out of ICC.
“Malawi remains in the ICC. We are still a member of ICC. Malawi has not even hinted on withdrawing from being a member as that would have been made public” said Tembenu in an interview with Sunday Times.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is on record, during the 24th African Union Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to have appealed to all African nations to cease being part of ICC citing the court’s targeted Africans only instead of ensuring justice universally.
On May 25, a grouping of 35 African Civil society organisations working in human rights and international criminal justice including Malawi’s Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Human Rights Watch, Kenyan Section of the International Criminal Jurists, and Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC), hailed Malawi and other African countries party to ICC for expressing its strong support for the international Criminal Court (ICC), in a joint letter addressed to foreign and justice ministers.
Malawi signed and ratified the Rome Statue of ICC on March 3, 1999 and September 19, 2002 respectively but is yet to domesticate it.
The 35 Civil Society groups urged Malawi and other African countries which were yet to domestic to do so as a further step to ensure that the fight against impunity whenever serious crimes in violation of international criminal law are committed succeeds even at domestic level.
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) in partnership with Malawi Law Society (MLS) have been urging the Malawi government to come up with a domestic legal framework to support the Rome Statute of ICC through the domestication of the same.
“Malawi needs to build, develop or strengthen a comprehensive legal capacity to handle or prosecute various serious crimes or human rights violations of international concern like genocide, aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity through its domestic legal framework. Such a goal can be realised through the domestication of the Rome Statute,” reads a joint statement by CHRR and MLS issued on 29th December 2014, signed by Timothy Mtambo and Mandala Mambulasa.
CHRR’s Human Rights Advocacy Coordinator Makhumbo Munthali was quoted in the Sunday Times stating that, as one of the organisations party to the group’s letter, they will continue to campaign for the domestication of the Rome statute of ICCin the best interest of justice and human rights for all.