Nyasa Times Leeds Thom Chiumia
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

Malawi government has said it is watching with keen interest on the departure of African countries from the International Criminal Court (ICC), saying it will make a decision on its stand from the world body designed to prosecute those who commit the gravest atrocities.

Minister of Information and Communication, Malison Ndau, speaking on Daybreak Malawi program which Nyasa Times monitored on Capital Radio, Friday, said the government will not be influenced by any other country to make a decision.

“Membership of ICC is an individual thing. We are members as individual countries. We are watching what is happening, we are listening. We are going to make our decision,” Ndau, who is official governmentspokesman said.

His comments were made after South Africa began the formal process of withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC. Burundi has also announced its intention to withdraw in due course.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, has declared his country’s intention to withdraw from human rights based tribunal, accusing it of getting “involved in the persecution and humiliation of people of colour, especially Africans”.

Asked if there is possibility form Malawi pulling out of Hague-based court, Ndau acknowledged that some of the African countries concerns were valid.

“Once we feel that its right for us to move out, we will do do as acountry,” Ndau said.

A researcher at the Institute of Security Studies. Allan Ngari has said South Africa pulling out of the is “a huge blow against the fight against impunity”, predicting that there are going to be more African countries that would follow in its footsteps.

Ngari is quoted by News24 that without any proper mechanism to protect victims of crime across the continent, South Africa’s decision to pull out of the international court was is “travesty of justice” as it would have “unintended consequences on victims of international crimes across the African continent”.

Former ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said that by undermining the court, countries were giving the continent’s leaders free rein “to commit genocide”.

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