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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
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 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.

AppleAndroid