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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid