Saturday, December 15, 2012

US: No decision yet on Uhuru, Ruto ban

From left: Danish ambassador Greert Aagaard, British High Commissioner Christian Turner, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IBEC) chairperson Isaack Hassan and US Ambassador Robert Godec during a voter registration drive in Thika December 15, 2012.

From left: Danish ambassador Greert Aagaard, British High Commissioner Christian Turner, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IBEC) chairperson Isaack Hassan and US Ambassador Robert Godec during a voter registration drive in Thika December 15, 2012. The US has said no decision has been made to ban Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto from America. CORRESPONDENT   NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KEVIN KELLEY in New York

The State Department said on Friday no decision has been made to bar Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto from the United States.

Spokeswoman Tula Orum made the comment via email in response to a question from the Nation regarding press reports in Kenya implying that the US has decided to deny entry to Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto.

Referring to the reports, Ms Orum pointed out that "the eligibility of an applicant for a US visa is determined only after an application has been received".

"If and when we receive an application, we will of course apply applicable US law, regulations, and policy to determine eligibility," Ms Orum said.

The State Department did not respond to a question as to whether the US has a policy of denying visas to persons under indictment by the International Criminal Court.

Both Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto, who have formed an alliance to contest the March elections, have been charged by the ICC prosecutor with crimes against humanity.

The two are accused of having orchestrated violence following the 2007 elections. Some 1,133 Kenyans were killed and 650,000 displaced in a wave of attacks that swept the country in the wake of the disputed vote.

The Obama administration has also taken no public position on the suitability of Mr Kenyatta's and Mr Ruto's current candidacies for high office.

"Whether those indicted by the International Criminal Court are eligible under the Constitution to run for president of Kenya is a decision for the Kenyan courts," State Department spokeswoman Hilary Renner said last month in response to a Nation query.

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