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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs