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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid