13 envoys oppose plan to ditch ICC

Friday December 24 2010

File |  NATION The International Criminal Court building at The Hague.

File | NATION The International Criminal Court building at The Hague.  

By Bernard Namunane bnamunane@ke.nationmedia.com

Kenya risks reversing gains towards political stability if it pulls out of the International Criminal Court, 13 foreign envoys said on Friday.

The envoys, whose countries are state parties to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, spoke as Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Mutula Kilonzo urged President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to ignore the recommendation by Parliament for Kenya to sever its relations with the world court .

The envoys urged the government to allow The Hague prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to go on with the prosecutions of the six people he believes bear the most responsibility for the post-election violence in 2008.

They also called for reforms in the Judiciary to try other suspects.

“Kenya has been rebuilding its international image since the post-election violence. Withdrawal from the ICC process potentially risks all this,” the envoys from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, said in a statement.

Three days ago MPs passed a motion urging the government to withdraw from the Rome Statute. Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and most ministers supported the motion.

Serious blot on legacy

Ten days ago, the ICC prosecutor named deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta, Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and Postmaster-General Hussein Ali as the individuals he intends to try at The Hague.

Speaking over the phone, Mr Kilonzo said he was opposed to the withdrawal from the ICC.

“The President should not sanction withdrawal from the Rome Statute. It will be a serious blot on his legacy,” he said.

He was categorical that Kenya can only ask Mr Moreno-Ocampo to halt the trials after a new chief justice, attorney-general and prosecutor have been appointed and judges vetted.