President Robert Mugabe yesterday said Zimbabwe was not a signatory to the Rome Statute, which ushered the International Criminal Court, because “we won’t subject ourselves to justice outside our country’s borders”.
Mugabe, who is current chairman of the African Union, said this in Johannesburg where he said that South African President Jacob Zuma had made an undertaking that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir would be not arrested at the summit.
A South African court had issued an order that Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC, should not be allowed to leave South Africa but should instead be arrested and handed over to The Hague.
South Africa, however, allowed Bashir to leave through a military base sparking a potential constitutional crisis in the country.
But the move which was endorsed by the ruling African National Congress brought some respectability to South Africa.
Mugabe, who has been urging African countries to quit the ICC supported South Africa in letting Bashir go arguing: "This is not the headquarters of the ICC and we do not want it in this region at all…….There is a view that we must distance ourselves from the ICC, but unfortunately the treaty that set it up was done not by the AU, but by individual countries. But those who signed the treaty are now regretting. We didn’t sign it as Zimbabwe. We won’t subject ourselves to justice outside our country’s borders.”
There have been calls for Mugabe to be brought before the ICC, for his alleged human rights violations, but that can only be done if sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council because Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the Rome Statute.