News / Africa

UN Security Council Rejects Delay of Kenyatta, Ruto Trials

Deputy Kenyan President William Ruto addresses the media at a news conference at the Movenpick Hotel in The Hague, Oct. 15, 2013.
Deputy Kenyan President William Ruto addresses the media at a news conference at the Movenpick Hotel in The Hague, Oct. 15, 2013.
Larry Freund
The United Nations Security Council on Friday rejected a resolution that would have delayed the International Criminal Court trials of Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his deputy, William Ruto.  
Only seven of the 15 members of the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution - two votes short of the required nine. The remaining eight members of the Council abstained.

Kenyatta and Ruto are both accused of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the violence after Kenya’s 2007 election that left more than 1,100 people dead. Both men have denied the charges.

The trial of Kenyatta before the International Criminal Court in The Hague was originally set to begin earlier this week but was postponed until February 5.

The resolution to delay the trial for a year had been pressed by the African Union and was brought to a vote despite the wide expectation that it would fall short of the required nine “yes” votes. African diplomats said they had been hoping against hope that they would find the additional two votes to gain approval.

Kenya’s representative at the United Nations, Macharia Kamau, was blunt in expressing his disappointment. “The deferral has not been granted. Africa’s request through abstaining votes cast by certain members in this council has been turned down. Reason and the law have been thrown out the window, fear and distrust have been allowed to prevail. Africa is disappointed and we regret this very much.”

Rwanda was one of three African members of the Security Council voting for the deferral resolution - the other two were Togo and Morocco.

Supporters of the resolution argued that Kenya's leaders are needed at home to fight the threat of terrorism, especially after the al-Shabab attack on a Nairobi mall that killed more than 60 civilians.

Rwanda’s ambassador, Eugene Gasana, said, “His excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta and the deputy president, William Ruto, should be respected, supported, empowered, not distrusted and undermined in this time. That is why, after this morning’s vote, Rwanda expresses its deep disappointment.”

Representatives of the eight nations abstaining in the Security Council vote argued that the rule permitting a trial delay relates to matters of international peace and security. They said that does not apply in this case. They also held out the hope for continued discussion of the trial during a meeting next week of countries that are parties to the International Criminal Court.

Among the abstainers in Friday's vote was the United States, represented by Ambassador Samantha Power. “The families of the victims of the 2008 post-election violence in Kenya have already waited more than five years for a judicial weighing of the evidence to commence. We believe that justice for the victims of that violence is critical to the country’s long-term peace and security. It is incumbent on us all to support accountability for those responsible for crimes against humanity,” she said.

Guatemala’s representative, Gert Rosenthal - who also abstained - told the Security Council that the progress in building a partnership between the Council and the African Union was compromised by the vote.

Perhaps the damage is not irreversible, he added, but clearly there was a misunderstanding and both sides were unable to reverse what he called “the regrettable outcome.”

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This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Lebeaukitoko from: Kinshasa
November 17, 2013 10:29 AM
A shame for rwandan president. Has Kagamé made a comment on this resolution about kenyan - ICC?

by: charles zondo
November 16, 2013 11:59 PM
So much wisdom, redemption ?

Much like Zimbabwe, make your call.

by: kabz from: Africa
November 16, 2013 7:13 PM
USA has seen African leaders wisdom not to be primitive that they cannot solve they're own problems.

by: Carlos from: Nairobi
November 16, 2013 3:03 PM
No one knows when the hour of Africa's Redemption cometh. It is in the wind. It is coming. One day like a storm, it will be here. When that day comes all Africa will stand together.
Marcus Garvey (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940)

by: kaizeri from: nairobi
November 15, 2013 4:18 PM
Does justice really exist.its easy said than done.wasn't surprised at all about us,UK and France posiition in this case.they claim,justice should prevail claim the three people committed crimes against humanity,have these powers forgotten the crimes they committed against Africans in the colonial n post colonial era.excuse me,they are nothing but hypocrites.

by: Benjamin kilonzi from: kitui
November 15, 2013 2:06 PM
These people are playing with kenyan let the hearing proceed to get the truth because many people are crying and they have waited for long to get justice.
AU they dont know how kenyan lost their properties and their beloved ones,when former VP of kenya went all over the world seeiking surport for this case to be done here in kenya,where was AU that time?
So,AU keep off and let ICC to do his duty and everybody carry his/own cross.
In Response

by: Hassan from: Ethiopia
November 16, 2013 7:23 PM
Stop been a home guard still use by western to be false accuser of your brother.. Deal with your brother in your own mechanism than selling them to slave masters. All they want is to divide u and exploit u.
In Response

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
November 16, 2013 2:52 AM
The issue is not punishing the war criminals whoever they are but the fundamental real issue is the behaviour of ICC towards black African leaders. It’s completely clear now that ICC considers that exclusively all black African leaders as potential war criminals. There are plenty of leaders out there who mercilessly gassed their own people; women, children and elderlies. Those leaders, with the help of Westerns, did get away with these heinous crimes. Understandably no outcry from ICC.
Laurent Gbagbo, former president of Ivory Coast, was detained under dubious allegations. ICC throws him to Guantanamo Bay look-like detention at Hague. More than two years have passed no charges and no convictions yet. ICC seems in no hurry to bring Mr. Gbagbo to court, what they interested is only to continue humiliating him and for others to see that.
Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were recently elected to office by the good people of Kenya. Both men need to deal with pressing issues such as economic, terrorism, refugees and so on. What ICC wants is to humiliate and prevent them from serving their people. Uhuru and William need not to cooperate with ICC.

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