Fresh details have emerged on how the United Kingdom (UK) government played a pivotal role in pushing the hybrid motions (excusal and use of video link) that saved Kenya at the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) meeting at The Hague.
While the Kenyan government had originally banked its hope on the African Union’s failed motion for immunity of serving heads of States to shield President Uhuru Kenyatta from prosecution, the video link motion that was approved was sponsored by Britain.
The second motion on trial of the accused in absentia and partial recognition of Heads of State (rule 134) was sponsored by Greece and Guatemala. Had the ASP meeting failed to pass any motion that was to the advantage of Kenya, the ICC had already pronounced that Uhuru attends court sessions in person. It has emerged that an official at the British Foreign Office in London and another official at State House, Nairobi, played a key role in softening the Kenyan opposition to Britain’s video-link proposal.
“We had to make the President understand that resisting use of the video-link was not wise, especially if AU’s immunity motion was to be defeated. That would have exposed him because ICC had already said that Uhuru should be at The Hague in person,” said our source who sought anonymity so that he could speak freely on the subject. History and International Relations expert Prof Macharia Munene says Britain changed its heart to protect its long-term interests in Kenya.
“They realised they have to change tack to protect their long-term interests,” says Macharia who lectures at the United States International University-Kenya. The Chief Executive of the African Policy Institute (API) Prof Peter Kagwanja points out that from a security point of view, Britain has realised Kenya is pivotal to the stability of former British colonies on the African continent. He further notes Britain’s earlier move to abstain from voting during the United Nations (UN-Security Council) meeting, was because it had underestimated AU’s resolve on the ICC cases facing President Uhuru and his Deputy William Ruto “Come the ASP meeting and Britain was careful not to push AU and Kenya to the corner.
That is why it argued Uhuru and his deputy have extra-ordinary public responsibilities, leading to amendments of Articles 134, 68 and 100 that allows them not to attend ICC in person, use of video link and recorded testimonies not being used in the current cases,” he says. Kiambu Senator Paul Wamatangi says Kenya’s matter was not a strategy but an issue of asking a friend to demonstrate his friendship or?else the friendship is reviewed.