The African Union (AU) ended its 25th summit on early Tuesday morning in Johannesburg, pledging to fulfil Agenda 2063, a blue print for future development of the continent.
At the two-day summit, African Heads of State and Government discussed Agenda 2063, woman empowerment, the political crisis in Burundi.
They also discussed proposals for the continental free trade area and mechanisms to find new sources of funding for the AU operations.
The summit took place under the theme “Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063.”
Prior to the summit, meetings took place at officials and ministerial levels since June 7.
The summit was, however, overshadowed by the participation of Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged anti-humanity crimes.
South Africa, being a signatory to the Rome Statute, had an obligation to arrest him and hand him over to the ICC.
The court had issued an arrest warrant for South Africa to detain al-Bashir while he was attending the AU summit.
Al-Bashir left South Africa on Monday without any incident hours before the summit ended. His presence was the focus of attention at the summit.
South Africa has been under fire from some quarters for not arresting al-Bashir in defiance of the ICC’s arrest warrant.
But AU Commission Chairwoman, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, defended the decision to invite al-Bashir to attend the summit.
“Sudan is a member of the AU and has always attended AU summits, ” Dlamini-Zuma told a post-summit news conference.
“This is an AU venue, not a South African venue”, therefore there was nothing wrong with South Africa.
“There is nothing new” about al-Bashir attending AU summits,” she said. He has attended AU summits and will continue to do so wherever such summits take place, Dlamini-Zuma said.
According to her, the AU does things according to its own rules, not according to the rules of the ICC.
AU Chairperson Robert Mugabe, who is also Zimbabwe’s president, echoed her view, saying: “here is not the ICC headquarters.”
The Rome Statute, which created the ICC, was not signed by the AU but by individual countries, Mugabe said