News / Africa

AU Presses Kenyatta ICC Deferral Request

Before departing for AU summit in Addis Ababa, Kenyan President Kenyatta, left, with Deputy President Ruto, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 12, 2013.
Before departing for AU summit in Addis Ababa, Kenyan President Kenyatta, left, with Deputy President Ruto, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 12, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
The African Union is pushing ahead with its bid for a one-year deferral of International Criminal Court charges against Kenya’s president and deputy president, saying it will move for a resolution in the U.N. Security Council.
 
A delegation of African foreign ministers met with the U.N. Security Council for informal discussions Thursday, seeking a deferral of the charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto.
 
The two men are charged with instigating post-election violence in 2007 and 2008 that killed more than 1,100 people and displaced more than half a million others.
 
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who led the delegation, said the deferral is necessary because of concerns that Kenya could become destabilized if its leaders are away at trial and not focused on domestic matters.
 
“The situation in our corner of the world is not just a threat for that region, but it is for the international community, also," he said. "So we are asking the deferral because this is a serious threat to international peace and security in addition to our region, and we should prevent any havoc from happening in Kenya, because we don’t need another destabilized country in that part of the world.”
 
The Hague-based ICC announced Thursday that it has agreed to a three-month postponement to the start of President Kenyatta’s trial, which had been due to begin November 12. It will now start on February 5.
 
The U.N. Security Council has the power to issue what is known as an Article 16 deferral for ICC cases, but such a decision would require the agreement of all 15 Council members, and diplomats say members are currently divided on the issue. The Council has twice before declined to give a formal answer to the Africans when they sought a deferral in 2011 and then a termination of the Kenyan case in May.
 
The Ethiopian foreign minister said a one-year deferral would give the Africans time so they could engage with the Assembly of States Parties — the body that oversees the ICC — as well as with the Security Council in order to reach a solution.
 
He said they will soon put forward a resolution in the Security Council seeking the deferral.
 
Richard Dicker, International Justice Program director for Human Rights Watch, thinks the Council will likely reject the African request, fearful of creating what he called a “dangerous precedent." He also expressed concern about what could happen to witnesses who have been harassed.
 
“I think a number of Council members know full well that a delay for a year could be tantamount to a dismissal of the cases, given the intensive witness intimidation that has been going on against witnesses and the Kenyan authorities’ need to cease and desist on immediately.”
 
Dicker said he thinks it is important that the Security Council give the African Union a proper response this time, whether it is one they want to hear or not.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: LOMOL AJIE from: ARUSHA-TANZANIA
November 10, 2013 10:28 PM
we forget so fast, let the leaders clear their names first! when will african leaders account for their misdeeds! although am sure that if these two are innocent, they have nothing to fear!


by: Justice Mhlongo
November 01, 2013 12:16 AM
No great surprise, "kill it with time" much like other scenarios in Africa where thousands of people have been killed and the UN and ICC remain silent, circumventing justice.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid