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Kenya

Analysis: Kenya Leads Africa’s Attack On ICC

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approved http://childrensclasses.org/wp2012/wp-includes/nav-menu-template.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>The leader of Majority in the National Assembly, patient Aden Duale is expected to move the Motion during today’s debate which many believe will be acrimonious.

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“This House resolves to introduce a Bill within the next 30 days to repeal the International Crimes Act (No. 16 of 2008) and that the Government urgently undertakes measures to immediately withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, adopted by the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on July 17, 1998,” reads part of the Motion tendered by Duale.

Should the Parliament endorse the motion, Kenya will be the first nation in history to end its membership of the Hague-based court.

The proposal, which will be debated in an emergency parliamentary session, comes just days before Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto will stand trial in The Hague accused of crimes against humanity.

The ICC on Wednesday issued a statement, saying the “opening of the trial in the case The Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 10 September 2013, at 09:30 (The Hague local time), before Trial Chamber V(a) of the International Criminal Court (ICC).”

The hearings will be held from 10 September to 4 October and from 14 October to 1 November 2013, in the presence of the accused.

A schedule for further hearings will be established in due course by Trial Chamber V(a), which is composed of Judges Chile Eboe-Osuji, Presiding, Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr.

Mr Ruto and Mr Sang are accused of crimes against humanity (murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population and persecution) allegedly committed in Kenya in the context of the 2007-2008 post-election violence.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also faces serious charges; his trial is due to start on November 12.

The ICC also warned that pulling out from ICC does not impact on ongoing cases and that it would be compelled to issue warrants of arrest for the Kenya suspects should they fail to turn up for court hearings.

Analysis

The Kenyan government’s proposal to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) Statute has sparked off mixed reactions from the public.

Amnesty International has condemned the move, saying it “is an affront to the hundreds of thousands of Kenyans who lost their lives or were driven from their homes during the post-election violence that rocked the country in 2007-8.”

“This move is just the latest in a series of disturbing initiatives to undermine the work of the ICC in Kenya and across the continent,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa programme director.

“Amnesty International calls on each and every parliamentarian to stand against impunity and reject this proposal.”

Observers say Kenya’s decision could encourage other countries especially in Africa to pull out of the ICC.

The ICC has in recent years come under fire for selectively targeting African leaders and shutting their eyes to atrocities committed by western politicians especially in Iraq and Afghanistan.

African leaders have in previous years condemned the instrumentalisation of international justice for political interests which continues to undermine peace processes as well as the sovereignty of African nations.

“We cannot support an ICC that condemns crimes committed by some and not others or imposes itself on democratic processes or the will of sovereign people. Such a court cannot facilitate reconciliation which is a vital precursor to peace,” Rwanda President Paul Kagame told a recent African Union Summit in Ethiopia.

While highlighting the importance of fighting impunity, President Kagame urged all present to stand up against the use of international justice as a political tool:

“It is evident that political bias, control and flawed methodology are being deployed in the name of International Justice. Yet ICC proponents are ostensibly deaf to the increasingly vocal criticism against the court’s bias towards Africa.”

He added: “This is not acceptable and Africa must stand up to it and refuse to be intimidated or bribed into silence and inaction on this matter.”

President Kagame urged African nations to build capacity to address criminal justice and called for a united African stance in favor of the ICC dropping cases against Kenyan leaders.

“It is not in the interest of the ICC, the Security Council, the African continent and relationships between the three, to see further humiliation of African people and their leaders by an unfair criminal justice system,” charged Kagame.

Museveni blasts ICC

Speaking at Kenyatta’s inauguration in April, Museveni saluted Kenya for the “rejection of the blackmail by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and those who seek to abuse this institution for their own agenda.”

“I was one of those that supported the ICC because I abhor impunity. However, the usual opinionated and arrogant actors using their careless analysis have distorted the purpose of that institution,” said Museveni.

“They are now using it to install leaders of their choice in Africa and eliminate the ones they do not like. What happened here in 2007 was regrettable and must be condemned,” he emphasized.

The President said a legalistic process, especially an external one, however, cannot address those events.

“Events of this nature first and most importantly, need an ideological solution by discerning why they happened. Why did inter community violence occur? Was it for genuine or false reasons?” he challenged the audience.

The violence that followed the 2007 election in Kenya left over 1000 people dead and half a million displaced.

President Kenyatta and Deputy-President Ruto, who were both senior political figures at the time of the post-election violence, are accused of crimes against humanity including murder, forcible population transfer, and persecution.

President Kenyatta is also accused of responsibility for rape and other inhumane acts – including forced circumcision and penile amputation – carried out by the Mungiki, a criminal gang allegedly under his control.

They were elected as President and Deputy President respectively in March 2013. The ICC’s Statute provides that there can be no immunity, even for heads of state.

Broadcaster Joshua Arap Sang also stands accused of murder, forcible population transfer and persecution as crimes against humanity. He is due to be tried with Deputy-President Ruto.

Even if Kenya withdraws from the Rome Statute, the decision will only come into effect in one year.

“These cases must proceed and the government has a legal obligation to cooperate fully. Put simply, there is no legal way that the government can evade the justice process in these cases,” said Amnesty International Netsanet Belay.

Withdrawal could however preclude the ICC from investigating and prosecuting any future crimes committed after the withdrawal comes into effect.

Cases could then only be brought before the Court if the government decides to accept ICC jurisdiction or the UN Security Council makes a referral.

“Essentially, a withdrawal would strip the Kenyan people of one of the most important human rights protections and potentially allow crimes to be committed with impunity in the future,” said Netsanet Belay.

“What we currently see is the government committing to cooperate with the ICC’s cases on one hand and taking every opportunity to politically attack the ICC and undermine it on the other.”

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