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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
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.

All About America

AppleAndroid