News / Africa

AU May Seek Deferral of Kenyatta ICC Case

FILE - Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairwoman of the African Union CommissionFILE - Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairwoman of the African Union Commission
x
FILE - Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairwoman of the African Union Commission
FILE - Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairwoman of the African Union Commission
Margaret Besheer
— The chair of the African Union (AU) Commission signaled Tuesday she could ask the United Nations Security Council for a deferral of the International Criminal Court case against Kenya's leaders.  

Diplomats with knowledge of the private meeting said that AU Commission Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma told a visiting Security Council delegation that the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy president, William Ruto, should be deferred for one year.

She cited the recent terrorist attack on Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, saying the Kenyan leaders needed to focus their attention on the country's security and could not afford to be away at The Hague-based court for weeks at a time.

The African Union is scheduled to hold an extraordinary summit Thursday and Friday about the International Criminal Court.  A formal deferral request to the council could come out of that session.

The U.N. Security Council has the power to issue what is known as an Article 16 deferral for cases at the International Criminal Court.  But such a decision would require the agreement of all 15 council members.

The Kenyan president and his deputy have been 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.

Thirty-four African countries are members of the ICC, but lately some have criticized the court, saying it is politically driven and is unfairly targeting African leaders.

The head of Human Rights Watch's International Justice program, Richard Dicker, says African criticism of the court is unmerited.

“In five of the eight African states where the court is conducting investigations, it was the governments of those countries that invited the ICC to step in as a court of last resort.  Two additional situations, Libya and Darfur, are in front of the ICC because of Security Council action, not because of initiative taken by the ICC.  And it is only in one situation - that is Kenya - that the court prosecutor acted on his own initiative," said Dicker.

There had been talk of a mass withdrawal of African states from the court, but Dlamini-Zuma's suggestion of a deferral could indicate there is not the widespread support Kenya and others had hoped for to make an impact.

At the AU-U.N. meeting in Addis Ababa, diplomats said procedurally the Security Council would consider a deferral request if it is presented, but on the issue of the ICC the council is split.

While council members agree the court is an important tool to fight impunity, only six of the 15 Security Council member states are parties to the Rome Statute, the treaty which created the ICC.  The United States is not among them, but President Barack Obama's administration has expressed a willingness to cooperate with the body.

The states' parties to the Rome Statute meet annually in New York.  They will convene there next month, and some diplomats said that would be the proper forum for a discussion of the Kenyan case.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid