Justice Minister Given Lubinda says the International Criminal Court cannot preside over a presidential petition as it does not conform to any of the issues it was formed to admit.

Lubinda said this in Parliament yesterday when he responded to a question from Musanzala PF Member of Parliament Peter Daka who wanted to know if there was anything criminal about the August 11, 2016 election petition case for it to be heard by the ICC.

“In responding to that question Sir, I will refer the honourable member for Msanzala to what I said constituted the crimes that are admissible under article 5 of the Rome statute and these are; genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression. Those are the four criminal offences that are admissible by the International Criminal Court. There is no mention here Sir of elections and the conduct of elections,” Lubinda said.

In apparent reference to UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, Lubinda said those who were thinking of taking the election petition case to the ICC were “just playing to the gallery” as such matters were not provided for in the Rome statute.

“Those who may be talking about matters of elections having been presented to the International Criminal Court are the ones whom that question can be referred to, if you ask me if anybody made such a statement I would say that they are playing to the gallery because the ICC wouldn’t even tolerate a presentation of that nature because it is not amongst those that are provided for in the Rome statute,” Lubinda said.

The House further heard that the ICC did not have any case involving Zambia or any Zambian citizen because no one had been found wanting by the Court.

“Mr Speaker, may I bring to the attention of this House through you sir and to the attention of the nation that there is currently no formal complaint that has been referred to the ICC over Zambia nor by Zambia, further there is no formal complaint admitted by the ICC against any Zambian national,” Lubinda said.

Meanwhile, the Minister urged the public to participate in making submissions through public hearings to be conducted from March 27 to May 31 this year regarding Zambia’s position on whether or not it should continue being a member of the ICC.

Lubinda said the final position on the matter would be advised at the 29th African Union Summit in June this year.

“The President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, decided that before Zambia commits itself to this debate, we shall consult the people of Zambia as this is an important matter of both national and international concern. Sir, Zambia like all other member states of the African Union is expected to give her position on the matter during the 29th summit Assembly of the African Union scheduled for June –July this year. In this regard, the Cabinet composed by his Excellence President Edgar Chagwa Lungu at its sitting on Monday 13th February 2017, authorized the Minister of Justice to initiate and spearhead a countrywide consultation process regarding Zambia’s position on its membership to the International Criminal Court and to prepare a report on the findings, which findings shall inform Zambia’s position at the June-July Summit of the AU,” said Lubinda.