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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs