House to discuss relations with UK over Uhuru, Ruto ICC cases

Tuesday November 19 2013

Defence and Foreign Relations Committee chairman Ndung’u Gethenji addressing journalists at a past briefing. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | FILE

Defence and Foreign Relations Committee chairman Ndung’u Gethenji addressing journalists at a past briefing. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | FILE NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOHN NGIRACHU
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Parliament will on Wednesday suspend its normal business to discuss relations with the United Kingdom.

Defence and Foreign Relations Committee chairman Ndung’u Gethenji accused the UK of pushing for changes to the International Criminal Court rules, which were harmful to Kenya.

He said Britain favours changes that will result in President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto participating in their trials through video link, while Kenya prefers a situation where the cases against the country’s leaders are suspended while they are in office. (READ: UK supports video link trials for Kenya)

The lawmaker successfully asked the Speaker to allow MPs to suspend normal business to debate the UK issue.

House rules forbid MPs from adversely discussing the leadership and envoys of a ‘friendly nation’ without a substantive motion.

Contacted by the Nation, a spokesman for the British High Commission John Bradshaw said the office did not have a comment as they had just learnt of the motion. Mr Bradshaw, however, said the Kenya Parliament had a right to discuss anything it wished.

UK INFLUENCE

Kenya’s Foreign Minister Amina Mohammed had announced that Kenya prefers changes that would grant Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto immunity from prosecution while they are in office.

Kenyan leaders have accused the UK and the US of influencing rejection of an African Union motion at the UN for deferment of the cases.

Kenya’s first attempt to have the cases against President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto deferred was at the United Nations Security Council meeting in New York last Friday.

The attempt was turned down when eight of the 15 members of the Security Council abstained from voting and the votes to pass it were not enough. (READ: Leaders criticise UN council)