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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid