Jubilee in fresh bid to pull out of ICC
NAIROBI: The ruling coalition has finally began the legal steps to pull Kenya out of the International Criminal Court ( ICC) with the publication of a new bill and the launch of a fresh political attack against the court.
The planned pull-out is in the legislative menu for the coalition’s MPs in the National Assembly – top of the list being the repeal of the International Crimes Act, the law that binds Kenya to the Rome Statute.
In the bill, the MPs allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee, which has a near-absolute majority in the House, have dismissed the ICC as a “most important threat to the country’s stability”.
The bill pushing for withdrawal from the ICC comes just days after the ICC released a damning brief on its evidence in the collapsed case against President Kenyatta. It also comes just a month after the court let the President off the hook.
In a memo to explain the rationale for the bill, the sponsor, first-time MP Boniface Otsiula (Bumula), accuses the court of “terrorisation and disappearance of Kenya’s citizens”.
“By adopting a flawed and unsound investigation process, the court has developed into a handmaiden for victimisation and evidential collusion,” said Otsiula.
Approving the International Crimes (Repeal) Bill 2015 will, however, not affect the on-going case against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang at the ICC.
“It is intended to remove from our Statute Books, a law that domesticates an international treaty whose application is adverse to Kenya’s national interests and is opposed to the position advanced by the entire African region,” the New Ford Kenya lawmaker said.
Otsiula said the Government has failed to implement a resolution of both Houses of Parliament approved in September 2013, pushing for Kenya to sever links with the court.
Thursday, after a meeting at the Parliament Buildings in Nairobi, Otsiula led a group of MPs including Kabando wa Kabando (Mukurweini), Ronald Tunoi (Bomet Central), Onesmus Ngunjiri (Bahati), Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) and Bernard Kipkirui Bett (Bomet East) in faulting the ICC process.
He argued that the ICC as a court cannot unite Kenya.
Ngunjiri said the ICC is a political party “advancing the interests of powerful forces from the West”.
“Bensouda dropped the charges against the President for lack of evidence, then she turns around and releases a damning report,” he said.
Keter said as much as every Kenyan wants to know the truth and get justice for the post-election violence, the court has totally failed.
The leaders also spoke on the Jubilee retreat that starts today, saying it would not be an easy meeting since the State Law office is yet to implement resolutions on the matter.
“This parliamentary group meeting is useful for TNA/ URP and affiliate parties. It will serve as a turning point. The two leaders must take Parliament seriously, none of our resolutions have been acted upon,” said Kabando.
Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki and his National Assembly counterpart Adan Duale confirmed that the bill and that of Mithika Linturi (Igembe South), to grant the DP immunity against ICC proceedings, would top the meeting’s agenda.