Security Council rejects Kenya’s request on ICC
NINE out of the 15 UN Security Council members opposed the Kenyan government request to terminate the Kenyan cases at last week’s informal session held in New York.
Details pieced from those who attended the closed door meeting indicate that three of the Council’s five permanent members (France, UK and US) flatly rejected the request.
Only China and Russia were sympathetic to Kenyan ambassador Macharia Kamau’s presentation. Each of the five members posses a veto power over any decision made by the council.
All the African countries at the council- Togo, Morocco and Rwanda- all not members of the ICC- supported the request. Togo appears to have supported the request half-heartedly.
Although it agreed that Kenya’s efforts to end impunity through local trials need to be encouraged, Togo however stated that the Security Council has “limits with regards to interfering with ICC processes”.
Luxemburg held its ground that ICC is the only competent authority to handle the Kenyan request, not the Security Council. Ambassador Sylvie Lucas reminded Kenya of Article 27 of the Rome Statute which makes irrelevant official capacity of suspects.
In fact, Luxembourg vouched for justice to be delivered quickly. Predictably, China sided with Kenya saying justice and peace are complementary values. She said ICC should not be allowed to “obstruct the process of national reconciliation”.
Azerbaijan, a former member of the Soviet Union said the peaceful nature of the March 4 election and endorsement of the duo to sit in high office is “evidence of the compromise” of the Kenyan people adding that the trials will negatively impact the functioning of the duo’s government and agreed that the council should grant Kenya’s request.
Guatemala said that as a new signatory to the Rome Statute, she is not keen to “debilitate the ICC.” The Central American country said its committed to strengthen the ICC and that the ICC “has to act in strict compliance to its mandate and not instructions.”
Argentina agreed with Guatemala and added that the ICC is prosecuting individuals and not the Kenyan state.
Even Pakistan denied Kenya’s request. The country which is not a member of the ICC said countries which are party to the statute have an obligation. She said there is little the Council can legally do “unless the ambassador to Kenya shows us a basis.”
The UK reminded Kamau that parliament rejected a local tribunal “and the main opposition was from the Kenyatta’s party.” She said Kenya should raise any issues with the court and respect its decisions.
Morocco said the Council should mind the stability of Kenya and grant the request. The North African country said Kenya should be given the opportunity to strengthen its national institutions through local processes.
Rwanda which has suffered the worst genocide in recent history said the ICC is bent on humiliating African leaders. The US urged the Kenyan leaders to cooperate with the ICC saying accountability is central to Kenya’s peace and stability.
France on the other hand said its view is that the ICC has so far done a “great job.” She said the council cannot do much on the matter. Korea said Kenya is a party to the Rome Statute and should continue cooperating with the court.
Australia said the Kenyan complaints against the office of the prosecutor should be channeled to the court because it has “its own mechanisms to address them” and allow ICC to continue its own course.”
Russia said prosecution of the Kenyan leaders can be a threat to international peace and security. She said although ICC is focusing on individual guilt, it cannot be lost that the two are heads of government.