Newscast Media NAIROBI—Western diplomats have reached an agreement that would
see President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial suspended by the International Criminal Court
(ICC) for a year. The deal is scheduled to be presented to the UN Security Council for
consummation, according to UK’s Daily Telegraph media outlet.
The Telegraph reported that an extraordinary summit of the African Union on
Saturday issued an ultimatum to the court to stop the case, warning judges that Mr
Kenyatta must not be compelled to face trial.
Mr Kenyatta, who was elected in March, welcomed the decision and criticised the
court. “It stopped being the home of justice the day it became the toy of declining
imperial powers,” he said. “Africa is not a third-rate territory of second-class peoples.
We are not a project, or experiment of outsiders.” Diplomats fear the trial could
create a impasse in which the Kenyan leader either pulls out of the process at the
last minute, or African states start withdrawing from its jurisdiction, according to the
A senior European diplomat stated that Kenyatta is not an indicted figure who is
defying the court.
“He is not like Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir. He is someone who is working closely
with the West in a region in chaos that needs to tackle a very worrying terrorist
situation. A solution must be found that avoids a breakdown in relations with
Kenyatta or the court’s authority,” he said.
According to The Telegraph, European officials have sought to adopt measures to
ensure Kenyatta is not forced to leave the country in the wake of the Westgate mall
terror attack, therefore a resolution that would suspend the ICC trial could be
adopted by the end of the month.
Newscast Media NEW YORK—AU leaders may have decided against a mass withdrawal from the ICC, but confrontation is still in the air. As trial of President Kenyatta draws near, Kenyans are reacting with a mixture of defiance and resignation.
Kenya’s foreign affairs minister Amina Mohamed told the media in Nairobi on Monday that the International Criminal Court would have to wait “until after the president leaves office.”
President Uhruru Kenyatta’s trial on charges of crimes against humanity is due to start in The Hague on November 12.
Some Kenyans, like political anaylst Egara Kabaji, are clearly worried. “It basically means Kenya becomes a pariah state. Nobody will want to do business with us,” he told Deutsche Welle’s Nairobi correspondent James Shimanyula.
Lucy Mwangi, who sells chicken in Kariobangi on the eastern outsikirts of the Kenyan capital, said she didn’t suport Kenyatta going to ICC because it would be “unfair for Kenyans.”
At the AU summit, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda put forward a resolution urging for a withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the legal foundation for the ICC. This failed to obtain majority backing. Before the summit started, there was support for the ICC from political heavyweights Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana.
The AU’s deliberations were opened by the chairman of its executive council, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who branded the treatment of Africa by the ICC as “unfair and unjust.” He insisted that Kenyan President Uhruru Kenyatta should be allowed to “govern his country,” an apparent reference to his expected enforced absence from Kenya while he is in The Hague.
AU leaders want the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to defer Kenyatta’s trial for a year. The UNSC has the authority to do this under article 16 of the ICC’s Rome Statute.
Solomon Derso is an expert on the AU at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Addis Ababa. He told Deutsche Welle the UNSC would only agree to such a deferral when there was a threat to international security and that was not in evidence in the case of Kenya.
“I really don’t see any positive response coming from the side of the UN Security Council,” he said.
On examining the possible voting intentions of two permanent members of the UNSC, Harmen van der Wilt, professor of international criminal law at the University of Amsterdam, came to a similar conclusion. “It is well known that the UK and France are supporters of the International Criminal Court so they could say, well, we could veto the decision,” he told Deutsche Welle.
The AU recommended that as a last resort Kenyatta should simply refuse to appear at the court in The Hague.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media ADDIS ABABA—The African Union (AU) has lashed out at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for targeting Africans on a racial basis, according to Press TV reports.
“African leaders have come to a consensus that the [ICC] process that has been conducted in Africa has a flaw,” AU Chair and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told reporters on the sidelines of the 21st AU summit in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday.
“The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity … but now the process has degenerated to some kind of race hunting,” he added.
On Friday, African foreign ministers agreed to draft a proposal to request the ICC to drop crimes against humanity cases against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his compatriots at The Hague and refer them back to Kenya.
Kenyatta is accused by the ICC of crimes against humanity for violence related to the 2007 election, and he is scheduled to be tried at The Hague in July.
More than 1,000 Kenyans were killed and 600,000 forced to leave their homes following the disputed 2007 vote.
African countries also agreed to establish a joint rapid reaction force to deal with regional security emergencies. The decision is aimed at reducing the continent’s reliance on external forces and funds for defense.
The special force will be formed from voluntary contributions of troops, equipment and funds by member states.
Newscast Media NAIROBI, Kenya—On Tuesday, Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in as Kenya’s new president and the country’s fourth head of state. Tens of thousands of people and regional leaders attended the ceremony, which took place at the Kasarani sports complex in Nairobi. The crowd erupted in cheers and waved Kenyan flags as Kenyatta, and his deputy William Ruto, took their oaths of office and were handed the ceremonial instruments of office.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga signed them both into office, officially confirming the relatively young duo as the new leaders of Kenya, East Africa’s most important economy.
The new Kenyan leader promised to lead his countrymen regardless of their ethnicity and diversity. Kenyan politics have been characterized by ethnic tensions and rivalry between the larger groups, which descended into violence after the poll in 2007.
“Kenyans expect Uhuru and Ruto to transcend the tribal line and provide good leadership that is devoid of tribalism,” Uhuru said.
After taking his oath of office, Kenyatta said, “I assure you again that under my leadership, Kenya will strive to uphold our international obligations, so long as these are founded on the well-established principles of mutual respect and reciprocity.”
Source: Radio Deutsche Welle