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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid