News / Africa

Kenya Wins African Support to Defer ICC Prosecutions

Several African countries are backing Kenya’s bid to have the International Criminal Court suspend prosecutions of six prominent figures accused of fomenting post 2007 election violence. A resolution of support is expected to win approval at next week’s African Union summit.

Kenya’s Vice-president Kalonzo Musyoka stopped in Addis Ababa Friday at the end of a whirlwind tour of African capitals. He is seeking support for a deferral of ICC cases against Kenya’s so-called “Ocampo Six”.

The six, most of them prominent politicians, were summoned to The Hague last month by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo to face charges of masterminding the ethnic violence that left more than 1,000 people dead following Kenya’s 2007 elections. The ICC judges accepted Moreno Ocampo’s request to prosecute the case after he argued last year that crimes against humanity had been committed.

But Vice President Musyoka  contends that the ICC is meant to be a ‘court of last resort’. He says the ICC decision to take up the case is a challenge to Kenya’s authority.

"An indictment by the ICC carries with it a certain stigma, a lot of stigma, and gives the impression that a country is in the category of a failed state. Kenya is not in that category," said Vice-president Musyoka. "That is why we are making every effort to get our country back. We have to deal with this ICC challenge."

Musyoka’s schedule in Ethiopia included talks with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping. His earlier stops included South Africa, Gabon and Nigeria, the three current African representatives on the UN Security Council. He said everyone he has talked to seems to agree that Kenya’s case merits consideration.

Officials say next week’s African Union summit is likely to approve a resolution urging the Security Council to order suspension of the Kenyan prosecutions. But Musyoka notes that a similar request in the case of the genocide charges against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir fell on deaf ears.

"It is to be recalled in the case of Sudan,"said Musyoka. "African Union put a request to the UN Security Council to be able to ask the ICC to defer the matter of indictment of President Bashir, and to date both the ICC and UN Security Council have not come back to Africa with a yes or no."

Musyoka strongly denied reports that Kenya is seeking support for a mass African withdrawal from the ICC to protest what some see as western imperialism and anti-African bias. He says the Nairobi government values its status as an ICC member in good standing.

"We’re not considering withdrawing from ICC, although our parliament in December passed a motion, carried unanimously, calling on the government to consider withdrawal from the ICC," he said. "But the government led by Kibaki has not addressed this matter."

Among the six facing ICC prosecution are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and civil service chief Francis Muthaura,  who is considered to be President Mwai Kibaki’s most influential adviser.

President Kibaki has publicly voiced support for local trials for the accused, and Kenya’s cabinet met earlier this month to discuss possible alternatives to the international court. A Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission was established in 2009 to try the accused, but the commission’s work stalled after its chairman was engulfed in an ethics scandal.

You May Like

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

Report: US to Sail Warships Near Disputed S. China Sea Islands

Move will signal nonrecognition of Chinese territorial claims over area, Financial Times reports, citing senior US official More

Study Describes Ancient Deltas, Lakes on Mars

Research builds on recent NASA announcement that water flows on red planet today More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanoni
John Owens
October 08, 2015 7:32 PM
Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs