Parliament pulls Kenya from ICC treaty

Wednesday December 22 2010

MPs on December 22, 2010 voted unanimously in support of the motion by Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto asking the government to withdraw from the Rome Statute. Photo/FILE

MPs on December 22, 2010 voted unanimously in support of the motion by Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto asking the government to withdraw from the Rome Statute. Photo/FILE 

By NJERI RUGENE [email protected]

Kenyan MPs on Wednesday night rallied behind a motion seeking to withdraw Kenya from the Rome Statute.

The MPs fully supported the motion by Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto for Kenya to cease being a signatory to the statute which creates the International Criminal Court.

Only Gichugu MP Martha Karua disagreed.

And during the debate on Wednesday night, MPs poured vitriol on the ICC and its chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

They expressed solidarity with the six people named as perpetrators of the post election violence.

They resolved that cases arising from the chaos be handled by local judicial systems.

The motion had been thrown out on Tuesday by Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim for violating the constitution.

However, Mr Ruto amended it to suit constitutional requirements and after giving notice to the House on Wednesday, it was placed for debate.

Supporting the motion, Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi dismissed the ICC as a colonial imperialist court.

“It is only Africans from former colonies who are being tried at the ICC. No American or British will be tried at the ICC and we should not willingly allow ourselves to return to colonialism,’’ he said.

“The fears that we had when we were introducing the international criminal justice system are no longer there.

“There is nothing we cannot handle. As a sovereign country, no other Kenyan who will be tried on foreign land. Let the six go but we have now learnt our lessons.’’

And he defended Head of the Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura whose name was among those in the Ocampo list saying: “I cannot imagine somebody like Ambassador Mutthaura raping anyone.’’

Ms Karua was the lone voice against the motion, which she described as unfortunate and misguided and pleaded with MPs to think about the interests of poll violence victims.

The Narc Kenya leader challenged President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to accept responsibility for failing to support the establishment of a local tribunal.

“The ICC did not come to us. We beckoned it. It is here by virtue of invitation by none other than the two principals and by extension Parliament,’’ she said.

“If Kenyans were wondering about impunity, this is the face of impunity,’’ she added, saying victims of the violence would be the greatest beneficiary of the ICC process.

Assistant minister Kabando wa Kabando supported the motion defending Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta who has also been named and said “he is now suffering’’ for helping mobilizing resources for victims of the violence.

Seconding, Mr Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa) asked: “Are we surrendering our sovereignty to foreigners?’’

Trade minister Chirau Mwakwere asked the rest of Africa to follow Kenya’s example and withdraw from the Hague.

He was ashamed, he said, to have been the one to sign the Rome Statute in 2005 on behalf of the Government, as Foreign Minister.

MPs who supported were George Nyamweya (nominated PNU) Prof Margaret Kamar (Eldoret East ODM) Shakilla Abdala (Nominated ODM), Peter Munya (Tigania West PNU), Johua Kutuny (Cherangany, ODM), Mohamed Kuti (Livestock Minister), Walter Nyambati (Kitutu Masaba), Jamleck Kamau( Kigumo PNU), Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon ODM), Adan Duale (Dujis ODM) and Kabando wa Kabando (Mukurweini).

After the debate, the MPs also voted to adjourn for an indefinite recess.