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 China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid