News / Africa

Kenya's Politicians Look to Withdraw from ICC as Suspects Named

Francis Muthaura, one of the accused, speaks to journalists in Nairobi, Kenya, 15 Dec 2010
Francis Muthaura, one of the accused, speaks to journalists in Nairobi, Kenya, 15 Dec 2010
Michael Onyiego

The Kenyan parliament is considering a motion that would remove the country from the Rome Statute and end its obligations to the International Criminal Court.

There is a wave of discontent rising within the Kenyan legislature against Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and the International Criminal Court.

A day after the announcement that six-prominent Kenyans are marked to face charges at The Hague, Kenya's Parliament discussed a motion that would see it withdraw its signature from the Rome Statute and disavow the authority of the international court.

The motion was put forward by Isaac Ruto, a member of Kenya's Orange Democratic Movement Party, who is seen as a close ally of suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto, one of the suspects named by the prosecutor.

Isaac Ruto told VOA the motion had significant support in the parliament, and a member of Speaker Kenneth Marende's staff said he thought the vote could go either way.

The "Hague Six", as the suspects are being called, include three members of ODM and three members of PNU, Kenya's two leading political parties.  That fact has led many politicians, including Cabinet Minister Njeru Githae to dismiss the prosecutor's cases as politically motivated. "We think Ocampo has politicized this issue.  We think there is a game here being played, where some candidates are being knocked off to give room for other candidates in 2012," Githae said.

According to Article 127 of the Rome Statute a country must wait at least one-year after submitting a written request to the Secretary General of the United Nations, before leaving the court.

Proponents of withdrawal from the ICC are framing the matter as an issue of sovereignty.  There has been a recent push in Kenya to establish an independent court to try the 2008 chaos suspects, and many feel a local trial would be better for the country.

Kenya tried in 2009 to establish a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission to delve into the violence, but controversy surrounding the body's chairman crippled the commission, and indefinitely stalled its work.

Some within parliament believe the push for local trials is simply aimed at dodging indictment.  MP Martha Karua reminded the house of the strong support for the ICC investigation with the passage of the International Crimes Act in 2008.  She warned opponents, to some laughter, that they would not be able to withdraw from Kenya's legal system if indicted locally.

The motion has been delayed on procedural grounds.  There is disagreement regarding whether a motion can legally repeal an international treaty.  

Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo called the motion unconstitutional. Under Kenya's new constitution, any international treaty signed previously becomes part of Kenyan Law.  Some in Parliament believe it would take an amendment to the constitution withdraw from the ICC.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid