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.
    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

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United Statesi
    X
    July 28, 2016 2:16 AM
    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora