News / Africa

Rwanda Seeks to Address ICC During Kenyan Leaders’ Trial

FILE - Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, Oct. 26, 2011.
FILE - Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, Oct. 26, 2011.
Peter Clottey
Rwanda has asked the International Criminal Court to let it address the court in the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.

“What we have done basically is to request the court to allow [us] to address it as a non-member of the Rome Statute, because we are not members of the Rome Statute,” said Rwanda’s Attorney General and minister of Justice, Busingye Johnston. “We think we can be of use to the court in terms of the interpretation of certain aspects regarding scheduling and the approach of the court to the planning and scheduling of matters.”

Judges at the ICC have yet to decide on Rwanda’s petition.

Rwanda is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, which established the Hague-based court.

Some analysts say Kigali’s ICC petition could signal President Paul Kagame administration’s intension to become a signatory to the Rome Statute or of becoming a member of the ICC. But, Johnston disagreed.

“No. We are not planning to become a member of the Rome Statute that’s not the case,” said Johnston. “We have requested as non-members of the Rome Statute, which we think is allowed. So, we are not planning to sign up to the Rome Statute.”

Some observers have questioned the timing of Rwanda’s request to address the court at the time when Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Ruto face the ICC over charges they played a key role in their country’s 2007-2998 post-election violence that left about 1,300 people dead. Johnston outlined the rationale behind Rwanda’s petition.

“The significance is that we want to address the court about our interpretation of certain articles in the Rome Statute with specific regard to the ongoing prosecution against the journalist, the deputy president and His Excellency [Kenyatta] the president of the republic of Kenya. So, it’s not just a coincidence. It’s in relation to that particular case,” said Johnston.

Johnston says if the approval is given, Rwanda would want to talk to the court about the impact of the timing of the trial of both Kenyan leaders.

“It is generally on the issues around scheduling, for example, if you have two high-ranking government officials attending a court, would you want to have both of them at the same time out of their countries when they also at work back home at their own country?” said Johnston.

The ICC accuses Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta of human rights abuses through involvement in Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence that left about 1,300 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes. Former radio host Joshua Arap Sang, is also accused of involvement in the violence.
Johnston declined to speculate about the possible success of Rwanda’s petition to the ICC.
“Honestly, my guess is as good as yours,” said Johnston. “Granting of the request is a complete reserve of the judges of the court. You can only make a request [and] that is what we have done.”
Clottey interview with Busingye Johnston, Rwanda attorney general
Clottey interview with Busingye Johnston, Rwanda attorney generali
|| 0:00:00

You May Like

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

Report: US to Sail Warships Near Disputed S. China Sea Islands

Move will signal nonrecognition of Chinese territorial claims over area, Financial Times reports, citing senior US official More

Study Describes Ancient Deltas, Lakes on Mars

Research builds on recent NASA announcement that water flows on red planet today More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: GPS
September 12, 2013 10:15 AM
Whilst the Rwandan genocide was shocking, there are several Countries, that seems to have escaped the attention of the ICC at the Hague and the UN altogether. Could be interesting if this was challenged on these grounds by smart legal practitioners and this would highlight double standards.

by: Anonymous
September 11, 2013 11:50 PM
Wow almost a thousand years worth of post-election violence must be intense

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanoni
John Owens
October 08, 2015 7:32 PM
Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs