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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid