African Union discusses UN resolution on immunities of heads of state

The African Union’s (AU) Legal Counsel, Dr. Namira Nagm, on Saturday organized the second meeting of experts to discuss the AU proposal to submit a resolution to the UN General Assembly to request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the immunities of heads of state before international courts.

Meeting attended by International Judge Theodor Meron, Former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Professor Pier, Professor of Public International Law at the University of Louvain in Belgium, Hery Ranjeva, International Counselor, Foley Hoag, Paris, Shawn Murphy, Member of the United Nations Commission on International Law and Professor of International Law George Washington University, Amado S, Legal Counsel Coordinator of the African Group to the United Nations in New York, and Lami Omale of the Office of the Legal Counsel of the African Union.

Meeting attendees agreed that the draft resolution, which affirms that international law grants the heads of state and senior officials personal immunities, can not be invoked by any party unless the State of which the official belongs decides to waive his immunity and thus can be prosecuted and extradited only criminally.

The next meeting will be held at the level of African foreign ministers in Addis Ababa to discuss the draft resolution and to take what they deem appropriate regarding the continuation of the Office of the Legal Counsel of the African Union to move in the United Nations towards the request of advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the immunities of Heads of State from prosecution before courts In light of the request for the arrest of a number of officials in several African countries wanted in a number of cases before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, led by former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was dismissed from his post this month as a result of continuing pressure of demonstrations Abya against his regime. He is to be arrested by the International Criminal Court on charges of committing war crimes against humanity and genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.

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