South Africa and Burundi have already started taking steps to withdraw from the court, and The Gambia has also signalled its intention, but the new administration has indicated that they would not go ahead with such.
But Elise Keppler from Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the reservations by some states showed “a lack of backing for the decision”.
It was not clear which states opposed the decision, but Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, and Botswana have expressed support for the war crimes court.
Concrete recommendations for action
The foreign ministers of many of these states, as well as Nigeria, have reportedly told a meeting of the executive council of the AU, where the strategy was discussed, that they opposed a mass withdrawal. According to reports, Nigeria’s foreign minister said: “Nigeria and others believed that the court had an important role to play in holding leaders accountable.”
Keppler said in the draft strategy she had seen, there were few “concrete recommendations for action” and it noted that mass withdrawal wasn’t recognised under international law.
There were also no timelines for withdrawal.
She said it was necessary for states to continue showing support for the war-crimes court “to deliver justice for the gravest crimes”.