News / Africa

ICC Withdrawal a Blow to Kenya

FILE -  Combination picture shows Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, who was finance minister, and William Ruto, former Higher Education Minister at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, April 2011.
FILE - Combination picture shows Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, who was finance minister, and William Ruto, former Higher Education Minister at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, April 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +
— Kenya's parliament voted last week to withdraw from the International Criminal Court at The Hague.  The move comes as Deputy President William Ruto goes on trial at the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity.  Human rights organizations say Kenya's withdrawal would be a setback to the reforms the country has achieved in terms of fighting political impunity.  
 
Kenyan lawmakers last week voted to pull out of the ICC, where the country’s president and deputy are facing trials for crimes against humanity.
 
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto are accused of helping to organize the post-election violence five years ago, in which more than 1,100 people were killed and 600,000 displaced.  Both men deny the charges.
 
Now days after the landmark withdrawal vote in parliament, some Kenyans say they fear the move has tarnished their country’s image
 
Kenyan political writer and commentator Barrack Muluka told VOA the withdrawal is a big blow to Kenya, not the ICC.
 
“People in the international community put up the ICC because of something called impunity.  And in this impunity it obtains in a individual nation-state and when a certain nation-state decides that it wants to become a rogue state.  We cannot say the ICC has suffered a blow, it’s the people of those particular countries that suffer," said Muluka.
 
There are still procedural steps for Kenya to take before it can officially withdraw from its ICC obligations - including formal notification to the United Nations.  The process could take about a year.
 
Meanwhile, the ICC says whether Kenya withdraws from the Rome Statute or not, the cases against the president, his deputy and radio host Joshua Sang will continue.

Tiseke Kasambala works with Human Rights Watch.  She says Kenyan politicians have sent a very wrong message to their constituents by taking action to withdraw from the ICC.  
 
“This proposed withdrawal from ICC sends the message to Kenyans that what happens to them does not matter.  But those who violently torture, and kill them or displace them from their homes would not be brought to account and the Kenyan government doesn’t actually care about them," said Kasambala.
 
Initially, President Kenyatta and Ruto pledged to cooperate with the process and defend themselves at The Hague.  But that is being increasingly thrown into question.  

Human Rights Watch says a pattern of obstruction has developed every time the ICC tries to speed up its proceedings.  
 
On Sunday, Kenyatta warned he and  Ruto will not appear unless the ICC changes its scheduled hearings in November and December - as they conflict with Kenya’s celebrations of 50 years of independence.  

He also argued he and his deputy are constitutionally prohibited from being out of the country at the same time.
 
HRW’s Kasambala says Kenya’s obligations to the ICC are still in effect and must be adhered to.
 
“The ICC is operating separately.  Kenya is still a member state and it’s still obliged to follow the ICC obligation on it.  So whether this is or not in the Kenyan constitution we are talking about, the fact that Kenya is an ICC member state and therefore has to follow the rules and regulation of the International Criminal Court," said Kasambala.

This is not Kenyan lawmakers’ first attempt to thwart the ICC.  The previous parliament also voted to withdraw from the ICC in 2012.  Then-President Mwai Kibaki refused to act on the motion.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid