News / Africa

    Kenya Votes to Withdraw From ICC

    Kenya Votes to Withdraw from ICCi
    X
    September 06, 2013 2:15 AM
    Kenya’s parliament has voted to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. The decision comes just before trials at the court of the country’s president and deputy president. If Kenya does leave the ICC, it could have far-reaching consequences, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Kenya Votes to Withdraw from ICC
    Henry Ridgwell
    Kenya’s parliament has voted to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. The action comes before the court opens trials of the Kenyan president and deputy president on charges of crimes against humanity.  If Kenya does leave the ICC, it would be the first court member to do so - and it could have far-reaching consequences.

    The parliamentary motion calling for Kenya to withdraw from the International Criminal Court passed easily after opposition MPs walked out.

    The decision comes just before the country's president and deputy president face trial at the ICC in The Hague.

    Majority Leader of the Kenyan Assembly Aden Duale put forward the motion to withdraw from the court.

    "Mr. Speaker, I think as a country we have today made a statement based on our sovereignty as a nation," said Duale.

    Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Arap Sang are due to go on trial Tuesday. The trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled for November.

    They are accused of orchestrating post-election violence in 2007, in which more than a thousand people were killed. All three say the charges are politically motivated.

    ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah said the prosecutions do not violate Kenya’s sovereignty.

    “Every state that is part of the ICC, including Kenya, freely exercised its sovereign right to join. And the people of Kenya freely exercise their democratic right during the presidential elections. The ICC process is judicial and it should not be politicized,” said El Abdallah.

    William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta were opponents in 2007, but formed an alliance for this year's elections in March. Their campaign portrayed the ICC as interfering in Kenya’s domestic affairs.

    Chief Prosecutor of the ICC Fatou Bensouda rejected that accusation.

    “Kenya’s parliament did not manage to pass the legislation required to establish a special tribunal. Since then, the government of Kenya has not demonstrated to the judges of the ICC that it is actually investigating or prosecuting the three accused,” said Bensouda.

    Broad consequences

    Kenya’s withdrawal could have broad consequences, says Phil Clark, an analyst on the ICC’s work in Africa at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

    “It would mean that Kenya would stop cooperating in terms of the ICC’s investigations on the ground, in terms of protecting witnesses, and the practical elements of the case. And I guess on a wider frame, there’s a high chance that other African states will see this as a green light for them to do likewise,” says Clark.

    The African Union has accused the ICC of ‘hunting’ Africans because of their race - a charge the court strongly denies. But it’s a view that is gaining strength in Africa, says Phil Clark.

    “You have very powerful actors, including the U.S. and other members of the Security Council, who are willing to use the ICC around the world when it suits them to intervene in cases where Western powers have interests, but not to sign up to the court themselves,” says Clark.

    Kenya’s full withdrawal from the ICC would take up to a year - and still requires the government, not parliament, to formally notify the United Nations secretary-general.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Simon from: Kimura
    September 06, 2013 1:14 AM
    ICC is a political tool at the disposal of the West to advance their political and economic interests. It is not about justice for the victims they pretend to fight for.Africa must pull out.In Kenyan case, the witnesses were coached by donor-funded NGOs in a bid to impose the preferred candidate of the West on Kenyans. However, Kenyans rose to the occasion and reclaimed their sovereignty. We are willing to take this to the bitter and dead end. Our forefathers paid the ultimate price for our independence.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora