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Kenya's formal process to quit ICC yet to begin

Monday October 24 2016

A man outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands. Kenya is yet to begin the formal procedure of pulling out of the court. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A man outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands. Kenya on October 31, 2016 called out the court at a UN meet in New York. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

EUNICE KILONZO
By EUNICE KILONZO
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The government is yet to begin the formal procedure to pull out of the International Criminal Court, State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu has said.

Mr Esipisu, on Sunday said while there were two resolutions of Parliament calling for Kenya’s withdrawal from the ICC — one during the era of President Mwai Kibaki and the other during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration — the ultimate decision lies with the Cabinet.

“In terms of procedure, the ultimate decision as to whether Kenya will pull out or not is subject to Cabinet deliberations,” said Mr Esipisu. “To withdraw from a treaty, we need Executive deliberations and then the Cabinet directs the CS for Foreign Affairs to prepare the appropriate instruments and deposits them with relevant authorities.”

He said in this light, these “processes have not come up yet, so it is accurate to say the decision of the Executive is still pending.”

This is despite all cases against six Kenyans — including President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto — being dismissed by the court. The cases were seen to precipitate the clamour to leave the ICC.

CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

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A move to leave the 124-member court takes one year to take effect after the notice is formally received by the United Nations secretary-general.

Mr Esipisu’s sentiments come days after Burundi and South Africa issued notices of withdrawal from The Hague-based court set up to try world crimes.

The court handles cases on crimes against humanity and most recently a judgment against the destruction of World Heritage in Timbuktu, Mali.

This is even as the ICC asked the two countries to reconsider their positions to leave the nearly 14-year old court that has been accused of bias against Africa.

The head of the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit said in the event that Kenya comes out of the Rome statute, which established the court, the alternative is the African Court of Justice and Human Rights, the continent’s version of the ICC.

“The president has expressed support of the court and you will recall that Kenya has made a contribution of $1 million (Sh100 million) to this court to ensure that it is strengthened. Kenya has a commitment to African processes.”