MALABO, Equatorial Guinea – The body representing nations in Africa called on its members to disregard the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Moammar Gadhafi, an official confirmed Saturday, in a move that seriously weakens the tribunal’s ability to bring the embattled Libyan leader to justice.
The decision passed by the 53-member African Union late Friday states that the warrant against Gadhafi “seriously complicates” efforts by the organization to find a solution to the Libyan crisis.
AU executive Jean Ping also told reporters that the ICC is “discriminatory” and only goes after crimes committed in Africa, while ignoring those he says were committed by Western powers in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
If countries in Africa abide by the recommendation, it opens the possibility that Gadhafi could avoid prosecution by seeking refuge on the soil of his neighbors.
That has been the case for President Hissene Habre, who is accused of thousands of political killings and the systematic torture of his opponents when he ruled Chad, from 1982 to 1990, before fleeing to Senegal. He has yet to face a trial even though Senegal agreed in 2006 to create a special court to try him.
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