News / Africa

Rights Campaigner Says Ruto Must Appear Before ICC

Ruto / Kenya / ICCRuto / Kenya / ICC
Ruto / Kenya / ICC
Ruto / Kenya / ICC
James Butty
A human rights campaigner says that as the trial of Kenyan deputy President William Ruto is set to begin September 10 at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the focus should be on the victims of the crimes against humanity that he is accused of committing and not on the politics.

This comes as Kenya’s parliament voted Thursday to withdraw from the ICC, where President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy are due to go on trial for crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the country’s 2007 post-election violence.

Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch said the parliament’s decision would not impact Ruto’s upcoming trial.

In addition, Dicker said Ruto cannot refuse to appear before the ICC because he had pledged to cooperate with the court.

He said the ICC got in involved because Kenya’s parliament failed to pass legislation establishing a domestic tribunal to try those accused of complicity in the post-election violence.

“I think what’s really important to understand is that Kenya’s leaders broke their promises to hold national trials in Kenya. That failure obliged the ICC to step in as a court of last resort. And as Deputy President William Ruto’s trial begins, the focus needs to be on the horrific crimes committed five years ago not on the politics,” he said.

Dicker said Ruto cannot refuse to appear before the ICC because he had pledged to cooperate with the court.
Butty interview with Dicker
Butty interview with Dickeri
|| 0:00:00

“The motion adopted today, with all respect to the Kenyan parliament, has no impact whatsoever on the obligation of the deputy president to do what he pledged to do, and that is be there for the start of his trial on these serious charges,” head said.

The African Union has criticized the ICC of focusing intensely on the continent.  For example, over the last decade, it has been noted that the ICC has opened eight investigations, all of them in Africa, with more than two dozen people indicted. 

But ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has denied the court targets only Africans.  She said the court is simply seeking justice for victims of crimes against humanity.

Besides, Dicker said, the ICC was invited by several African countries to investigate crimes against humanity.

“African states were active participating members of the group that created the ICC. And five governments, those in Uganda, Congo, Central African Republic, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire had asked the ICC to come to their countries and begin work there,” he said.

 Dicker said he does not expect that the decision by Kenya’s parliament to withdraw from the ICC would lead to other countries leaving the court.

He also said the parliament’s decision is unlikely to enhance Kenya’s standing internationally or in Africa.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs