Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Africa should emulate Kenya's elections, says UN boss

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Photo/FILE

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Photo/FILE 

By KEVIN J. KELLEY

UN leader Ban Ki-moon has said the Kenyan elections are a good example of how poll rows can be resolved amicably.

The UN Secretary General urged countries that are set to hold their own elections later this year to emulate the Kenyan situation.

He was speaking at the UN Security Council on Monday during a debate on how to anticipate, prevent and respond to conflicts in Africa.

Rwanda Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, who is also the acting president of the Security Council, used the forum to chastise the International Criminal Court.

According to Ms Mushikiwabo, "political manipulation" often hampers the ICC's ability to prevent conflicts.

The Rwandan minister echoed sentiments by Kenyan diplomat Koki Muli Grignon last week, saying that national judicial mechanisms are capable of delivering justice more efficiently than international tribunals.

Ms Mushikiwabo noted that Rwanda's grassroots "gacaca" courts had in 10 years handled about 2 million cases stemming from the 1994 genocide.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda had, by contrast, processed only 75 cases in 17 years, the minister observed.

However, a Security Council presidential statement adopted at the close of Monday's debate indirectly affirmed the role of the ICC in cases such as those involving Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.

The council's statement emphasised that "the fight against impunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide is an important element of conflict prevention."

The council added that it "highlights in this regard the role of the international criminal justice system."

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