Friday, June 14, 2024

Kenya seeks urgent meeting with ICC to discuss AU resolution

NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 7 – Kenya has written to the Presidency of State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) asking for an emergency session to discuss the resolution by the African Union to have the country’s cases transferred back to the continent.

In a letter dated May 30, Kenya’s Permanent Ambassador to the UN, Macharia Kamau, wrote to the Vice-President of the Bureau of the Assembly of the States Parties (ASP) Ken Kanda (Ghana) to convene a meeting to follow up on the way forward on the outcome of the last month’s 21st Ordinary Summit of the Head of States and Government whose key decision was a resolution relating to Africa’s position on the ICC.

“My delegation strongly feels that, in parallel to these actions in News York, it is important that an emergency session or meeting of the ASP to the Rome Statute is convened by the President of the Bureau to move this agenda forward as soon as possible,” said Kamau.

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“It is also instructive that our colleagues in New York from other continents are watching to see if we shall follow on the actions taken by our Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa.”

The Heads of State attending the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last month passed a resolution urging the ICC to defer crime against humanity cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy President William Ruto back to Kenya.

The AU leaders said Kenya has a credible judiciary trusted by all Kenyans capable of hearing and determining the cases.

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African Heads of States argued that Kenya should be allowed to solve its problems.

In his letter to the UN, Kamau also stressed that there is an urgent need for the African member states in New York to convene a meeting as soon as possible to discuss the content of the Resolution. Africa is represented on the bureau by Burkina Faso, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

“I also suggest that in consultation with the Ambassador Tete and the African Group Chair of the Month of June this meeting can be convened to discuss the key outcomes of the Summit and especially the one on the ICC mutatis mutandis the planning of the 50th Anniversary celebrations. I am counting your support in this meeting in order for us to move this agenda forward,” he said.

The Assembly of States Parties is the ICC’s management oversight and legislative body and is composed of 18 representatives of the States which have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute.

As of 1 May 2013, 122 countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC.

In accordance with article 112 of the Rome Statute, the Assembly of States Parties meets at the seat of the Court in The Hague or at United Nations Headquarters in New York once a year and when circumstances so require.

United Nations Security Council last month rejected Kenya’s petition seeking termination of the ICC cases against President Kenyatta, his deputy Ruto and Journalist Joshua Arap Sang. The three are facing trial at ICC for crimes against humanity committed in 2007-08 post election violence in which more than 1,000 people died and 600,000 others were displaced.

Kenya remains a State Party to the Rome Statute which established the ICC and that binds President Kenyatta and his Deputy who also faces trial at the Hague-based court, to cooperate and appear in court when they are required.

On Monday Chamber V (A) judges had made recommendation to the Court’s Presidency suggesting that part of the hearing of the case facing Deputy President William Ruto be held either in Kenya or the neighbouring Tanzania.

The judges have also set September 10 as the new hearing date for the Ruto and Sang’s case.

Trial Chamber V (A) recommended to the presidency that it may be desirable to hold the commencement of trial and other portions of the trial in Kenya or, alternatively, in Tanzania.

“While the seat of the court is in The Hague (Netherlands), where the court considers that it would be in the interests of justice, it may decide to sit in a state other than the Netherlands,” the court explained in a statement on Monday.

Trial Chamber V (A) said that it made the recommendation after analysing the benefits of bringing justice closer to the victims and also after looking at the issues of security for victims and witnesses in these proceedings.

The judges said that they had also considered the need to ensure a fair and impartial trial free of any undue influence.

“The chamber is of the view that all these considerations need to be taken into account. Therefore, the chamber considers that the holding of the commencement and other portions of the trial particularly in Kenya would strike the right balance,” read the recommendation.

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