News / Africa

Kenya Court to Hear Petition Seeking to Prevent Leaders from Attending ICC Trial

Combination picture shows Kenya's then-finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Kenya's former Higher Education Minister William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in these April 8, 2011 (L)  and September 1, 2011 file photos.
Combination picture shows Kenya's then-finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Kenya's former Higher Education Minister William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in these April 8, 2011 (L) and September 1, 2011 file photos.
Peter Clottey
Kenya’s Constitutional Court plans to begin hearing a petition on Wednesday that seeks to prevent both President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto from appearing at the International Criminal Court (ICC) until they serve their full five year term.

The ICC prosecutors accuse President Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto of playing a role in Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence that left about 1,300 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. Ruto’s trial is expected to begin next week.

The National Conservative Forum (NCF), a civil society group, filed the petition arguing that the leaders’ presence at their own trial at the Hague-based court could create a power vacuum and a constitutional crisis.

The group contends that the constitution requires both the president and his deputy to be in the country, unless only one of them is out of the country on normal and official state duties.

“There is no constitutional mandate for them to hand over the instrument of power to anyone. In fact the president cannot hand over the instrument of power to anyone,” argued Jennifer Shamalla, head of the National Conservative Forum. “But now in Kenya there is a realization that there is a very great possibility that both the president and his deputy could be away at the same time.”

Shamalla says Kenyans worry that the absence of the two leaders also could create tension and uncertainty, especially because the country often comes under attack by the Somali-based Islamic militant group, al-Shabab.
 
In an affidavit to the court, Shamalla said since Kenya faces both internal and external security threats, the absence of Kenyatta and Ruto would put the country and its citizens at a security risk.
 
“We cannot afford a situation whereby if the president and his deputy may of course at the same time be out of this country, there is a vacuum in one arm of the government, which is the executive,” said Shamalla. “Kenya is a country that is in a very volatile region [and] we are at war as we speak with al-Shabab and porous borders in the north.”

Shamalla says there is possibility that ethnic tensions could be stoked, which could plunge the country into another round of violence.

“If you take into consideration that very rather delicate situation in this country and the region, there are people who can always take advantage of this situation. And we definitely don’t want Kenya going the Egypt, Libya or Syria way,” said Shamalla.

“And while I care deeply for the victims, we must also take into consideration that there is a possibility of it escalating to a point where you can have the even more chaos than you had in 2007-2008,” she said.

Shamalla says her group expedited the petition in anticipation of the trial of Deputy President Ruto, which begins next week at The Hague.

But critics say the petition is a publicity stunt since Kenya’s Constitutional Court does not have jurisdiction over the ICC trial. Shamalla disagreed.

“If you have a look at the application, there is a very sound argument that we have made. It’s not a publicity stunt,” she said.
Clottey interview with Jennifer Shamalla, head of NCF, civil society group
Clottey interview with Jennifer Shamalla, head of NCF, civil society groupi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Simon from: Nairobi
September 04, 2013 12:46 AM
Kenya is a sovereign state that can not and should not be manipulated by the Western imperialists through the ICC to advance their parochial interests.Bush and Blair should be cooling their heels in the cells.I support Kenya's withdrawal from the Rome statute and argue Uhuru and Ruto to defy the summons.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid