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Jubilee in renewed bid to pull out of ICC

uhurutoNAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 17 – Jubilee Members of Parliament on Friday said they would push forward with their bid to pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Tetu MP Ndung’u Gethenji, who is also the Chairman of the National Assembly’s Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee, said the court’s recent summoning of President Uhuru Kenyatta proved it was time to take the drastic action.

Gethenji said the court acted in absolute disregard of its largest bloc of members – the African Union (AU) – when it summoned President Uhuru Kenyatta, failing to take into account its resolution that no sitting Head of State should appear before it.

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“Disregarding the AU in totality shows the levels of respect the court has for the continent. So now we must review our position in our participation in a court which we have complied with to the letter,” he said.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, who is therefore President Kenyatta’s legislator, agreed with Gethenji and argued that the court’s expectation that Kenya would subjugate its Constitution to the Rome Statute was an affront to the country’s sovereignty.

“We need to repeal the International Crimes Act which is actually the Act that domesticates the Rome Statute into our laws and you should look out for that. It’s coming very soon,” he said.

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Kuria and Gethenji said they would also push to have those non-governmental organisations who obtain more than 15 percent of their funding from foreign donors, declare themselves as “foreign agents.”

“The Bill I’m tabling is for the review of the Public Benefits Organisations to achieve mainly three goals. One is to have civil societies declare their source of funding and if you receive more than 15 percent from foreign sources, then you need to acquire what we are calling a foreign agents certificate so that you are known that you actually represent foreign interests,” Kuria said.

NGOs, they contended, being to blame for the charges President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto are facing at The Hague.

A move, Suba MP John Mbadi said, that would serve no purpose for the a thousand who were killed during the 2008 post-election violence (PEV).

“Talking candidly, I will tell you I don’t know who was really responsible but if my colleagues were genuine and if this government was genuine,” he said, “if there are other people who bear this responsibility, the state machinery is in place. It is not the responsibility of the civil society to do investigations on those who commit crimes in this country.”

Ronnie Osumba, who was a running mate in the 2013 poll, agreed with Mbadi that blaming NGOs did not benefit the victims of the 2008 PEV and neither did pulling out of the ICC.

“The world today is suffering from very complex international crimes. As community of nations we must come together to fight those international crimes that go beyond our borders. We will need a proper international criminal justice mechanism and therefore to begin to think that we can walk away from our responsibility as part of the community of nations is a joke,” he said.

Gethenji’s and Kuria’s proposal that Kenya’s energies and resources would be better spent on reconciling the nation as opposed to seeking justice through the ICC was also challenged by Mbadi.

“You cannot tell me over a thousand people can die and then you come out and say we should forgive each other, we should move on because Kenya has been developing a very bad habit where we forgive criminals everyday including people who cane others in public, including people who throw shoes at the President then you come out and say we move on, for how long will we move on? These people are getting emboldened by the day. We must fight impunity in this country,” he said.

Gethenji and Kuria having proposed that Kenya go the South Africa route, post-Apartheid, or that of the Irish.

The MPs and Osumba were speaking at a debate organised by Change Associates and titled, “Is Kenya now on trial at the International Criminal Court?”

The debate over whether or not African nations should remain a party to the Rome Statue was revived recently by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni on President Kenyatta’s summoning to The Hague by the ICC.

But it has been ongoing since 2011 when the Vice President at the time, Kalonzo Musyoka was accused of carrying out, “shuttle diplomacy.”

And last year, the Kenyan National Assembly and Senate went as far as approving a Motion to severe all links with the ICC, and required the government to introduce a Bill to repeal the International Crimes Act 2007 which domesticated the Rome Statute into the Kenyan law.

The government is yet to implement the motion which was to be done 30 days after the Motion was adopted on September 13.

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