News / Africa

Kenya and Sudan in the Spotlight as ICC Conference Opens in Uganda

The International Criminal Court conference opened in the Ugandan capital Kampala, with delegates preparing to discuss the Hague court's future, and proposed changes to its founding treaty, the Rome Statute. But, Kenya and Sudan are making sure their agendas will also be at the forefront of the discussions.

The Kenyan delegation arrived in Kampala for the ICC review conference with the nation's coalition government divided over whether to ask the International Criminal Court to defer its investigation into the country's post-election violence.

Analysts say the two sides of the coalition are at loggerheads on the issue, with President Mwai Kibaki's PNU Party wanting a deferral and Prime Minister Ralia Odinga's side calling for the go-ahead.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has begun his investigations into the Kenyan violence, in which more than 1,300 people died in 2008.

Nairobi political analyst and lawyer Ojwang Agina told VOA the disagreements on whether or not the investigation should take place are deep rooted in the Kenyan government.

"This is a historical divide that divides those who are for impunity and are against any changes in the system, and those who want historical injustices addressed and new legislation put in place to cater for punishment of such infractions of the law," said Agina.

It is not the first time that elements of the Kenyan government have been accused of trying to disrupt the ICC probe, which has broad support among the country's public.

Ocampo requested permission to proceed with his own investigation in November 2009 after more than a year of international pressure on the Kenyan government to establish a national tribunal to prosecute offenders. After he was granted permission in March this year, the chief prosecutor announced he would go after those at the very highest level of involvement in the crimes, thought to include politicians and prominent public figures.

The situation in Kenya highlights what some experts say is a deteriorating relationship between the Hague court and certain African states. The ICC's investigations since its inception eight years ago have led to accusations the court is unfairly targeting African countries.

Sudan's war in Darfur was the first case to be referred to the ICC by the United Nations in 2005. The indictment of President Omar al Bashir on genocide charges drew criticism from various African governments, both separately, and collectively as the African Union.

Sudan has barred three human-rights campaigners from leaving the country to attend the conference. The campaigners say their passports were confiscated Saturday at Khartoum airport as they attempted to board a flight to Uganda.

Critics say the move is typical of a government accused of clamping down on political freedom in the run up to last month's presidential elections, which saw Mr. Bashir sweep back to power amid opposition boycotts and accusations of vote rigging.

Oiwang Agina says the view that the ICC is unfairly biased, has been orchestrated by regimes that are either under investigation or are likely to be in the near future.

"In most of these situations, people both at national level and outside are not happy with what is going on," continued Agina. "It is not the ICC, it is the actions of these particular groups that are bringing the ICC to Africa to look for them."

The Rome Statute is the ICC's governing treaty, adopted in 1998 in an effort to prevent and punish crimes against humanity. The conference will also address the court's role in crimes of aggression, when states engage in conflict that violates the U.N. charter.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid