The Southern African Center for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) says Zambia should maintain its membership of the International Criminal Court.
Executive Director Boniface Cheembe says leaving the ICC will make Zambia cease being a leading democratic example on the African continent.
Mr Cheembe told QFM news that withdrawing from the ICC should not be an option, but pushing for reforms at the ICC if necessary.
A number of African countries have in recent years threatened to pull out of the ICC.Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe whose country was not part a signatory to the Rome statute has in the past been quoted criticising the ICC over its prosecution of African leaders.
President Mugabe was quoted saying it was high time Africa set up a criminal court which would seek justice for “serious” war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the West, particularity during the colonial era.
Many in the international community cheered when the treaty to create the ICC, the Rome Statute, was adopted in 1998 as a way to pursue some of the world’s worst atrocities: genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Not all countries signed on. Notable countries that have not joined include the United States, China, Russia and India. Some countries are wary of The Hague, Netherlands-based court’s powers, seeing it as potential interference.Only Africans have been charged in the six ICC cases that are ongoing or about to begin.
SACCORD Executive Director Boniface Cheembe has since welcomed President Edgar Lungu’s indication that the decision on whether to stay or leave the ICC will be subject to wide consultation.He however said that there is also no need for the country to hold a referendum on whether to withdraw membership from the ICC or not as some people are suggesting.
Mr Cheembe says just as a referendum was not necessary when Zambia joined the International Criminal Court, the country does not need to use a referendum to decide whether it should leave or remain a member of the ICC.