News / Africa

AU Requests Kenyatta ICC Trial Delay

A general view shows the opening session of Heads of States and Government of the African Union on the case of African relationship with the International Criminal Court in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Oct. 11, 2013.
A general view shows the opening session of Heads of States and Government of the African Union on the case of African relationship with the International Criminal Court in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Oct. 11, 2013.
Reuters
— African leaders agreed on Saturday that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta should not attend trial at the International Criminal Court if the U.N. Security Council did not agree to delay the proceedings, Ethiopia's foreign minister said.

Tedros Adhanom said that the African Union would request the trial be deferred under article 16 of the court's Rome Statute that allows a delay of a year subject to renewal and would request a postponement if that demand was not agreed.

Before departing for AU summit in Addis Ababa, Kenyan President Kenyatta, left, with Deputy President Ruto, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 12, 2013.Before departing for AU summit in Addis Ababa, Kenyan President Kenyatta, left, with Deputy President Ruto, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 12, 2013.
x
Before departing for AU summit in Addis Ababa, Kenyan President Kenyatta, left, with Deputy President Ruto, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 12, 2013.
Before departing for AU summit in Addis Ababa, Kenyan President Kenyatta, left, with Deputy President Ruto, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 12, 2013.
"If that is not met, what the summit decided is that President Kenyatta should not appear until the request we have made is actually answered,'' Tedros told journalists, explaining decisions of a meeting to discuss Africa's relations with the court.

Earlier, foreign ministers of the 54-member African Union agreed that sitting heads of state should not be tried by the Hague-based court.
    
"It should be underscored that our goal is not and should not be a crusade against the ICC, but a solemn call for the organization to take Africa's concerns seriously," Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in an opening address.
    
Leaders meeting in Addis Ababa at the AU headquarters are expected to endorse the recommendations hammered out by ministers in Friday's meeting that extended past midnight.
    
Following that session, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom said trying Kenya's president and his deputy infringed on that nation's sovereignty. The two men deny charges that they orchestrated a killing spree after a disputed 2007 election.
    
Frustration with the ICC has been growing in Africa because the court has convicted only one man, an African warlord, and all others it has charged are also Africans.
    
The ministers did not call for a mass walk-out from the court's jurisdiction, however. Officials previously said that idea would be on the agenda but it did not draw broad support among the continent's 34 signatories to the court's Rome Statute.
    
Rights groups had urged African nations not to turn their backs on the court, which they say is vital to ending what they see as a culture of impunity in African politics.
    
Hailemariam told gathered leaders that the court and the U.N. Security Council had showed a "double standard" in the way it treated Africa and said earlier African requests for deferring cases had been ignored.
    
"It is indeed very unfortunate that the court has continued to operate in complete disregard of the concerns that we have expressed," he said.
    
Ethiopia's foreign minister said a group led by the AU chair, now Ethiopia, with members from Africa's five regions would press the U.N. Security Council to defer proceedings against Kenya's leadership and the Sudanese president.
    
'Demanding respect' 
 
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir speaks during a one-day summit in Khartoum, Sept. 3, 2013Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir speaks during a one-day summit in Khartoum, Sept. 3, 2013
x
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir speaks during a one-day summit in Khartoum, Sept. 3, 2013
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir speaks during a one-day summit in Khartoum, Sept. 3, 2013
While the Kenyan politicians have cooperated with the court, Sudan's Omar Hassan al-Bashir is now subject to an arrest warrant after dismissing charges of war crimes and genocide.
    
"We underscored that sitting heads of state and governments should not be prosecuted while in office," Ethiopia's Tedros said, adding a one-year delay was being requested under article 16 of the Rome Statute.
    
Ministers called for using video links in the Kenyan trials to ensure leaders could carry on their official duties.
    
An April 2011 Combination picture shows Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, who was finance minister, and William Ruto, former Higher Education Minister at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.An April 2011 Combination picture shows Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, who was finance minister, and William Ruto, former Higher Education Minister at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
x
An April 2011 Combination picture shows Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, who was finance minister, and William Ruto, former Higher Education Minister at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
An April 2011 Combination picture shows Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, who was finance minister, and William Ruto, former Higher Education Minister at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
The court has yet to rule on whether Kenyatta and Ruto can be excused from large parts of their trials or whether they can participate by a video link. Proceedings, though not trials, against the two were underway before their March vote win.
    
"Demanding respect is the least Africa can do, but I also don't like to see this mistaken for - as we have seen with some of the detractors of this exercise - that Africans are supporting impunity. We don't," Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told Reuters.
    
Those comments were echoed by Ethiopia's premier and others.
    
After wrangling over wording on Friday, one senior delegate described the result as a "good compromise". Kenya said it had not sought a walk-out but said others had supported the idea.
    
Some Africans, including officials from heavyweights South African and Nigeria, had prior to the meeting indicated there was not broad backing for a walk-out from a court that received the backing of many Africans when it was set up.
    
London-based rights group Amnesty International urged African nations meeting in the Ethiopian capital not to cut ties with the court, saying victims of crimes deserved justice.
    
"The ICC should expand its work outside Africa, but it does not mean that its eight current investigations in African countries are without basis," Amnesty's deputy director of law and policy, Tawanda Hondora, said in a statement.
    
Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said she was satisfied with the outcome of Friday's talks, adding that immunity for a sitting president was "a principle that has existed for a long time" in international law.
    
Lawyers for Kenyatta asked on Thursday that his trial on charges of crimes against humanity be abandoned, saying defense witnesses had been intimidated.
    
Ruto went on trial in The Hague last month and Kenyatta's trial is due to start on Nov. 12.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: louis kahama from: TANZANIA DAR ES SALAAM
November 08, 2013 5:08 AM
africa is for african let defend our continent against the impelialist domination

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid