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Kenya UN envoy warns of dividing ICC into owners and subjects

Saturday May 14 2016

Ambassador Macharia Kamau addresses a press conference in New York on August 2, 2015.

Ambassador Macharia Kamau addresses a press conference in New York on August 2, 2015. PHOTO | MARK GARTE | COURTESY 

KEVIN J.  KELLEY
By KEVIN J. KELLEY
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UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK

Kenya’s United Nations Ambassador presented a stinging critique of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at a United Nations General Assembly session on Friday.

Ambassador Macharia Kamau warned that the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, is being distorted to depict one group of member States as “owners and gallant defenders of the court, and the other as subjects.”

“Might does not make right,” he declared in an address to all 193 member nations of the world body.

He called the ICC “a deeply flawed institution that creates false hope among millions of people.”

The Kenyan diplomat’s comments served to sustain the government’s campaign against the ICC.

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Kenya is continuing to sharply criticise the court despite its withdrawal of charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.

"The ICC’s survival will be jeopardised unless reforms are adopted to ensure equal relationships among the ICC member states," Ambassador Kamau added in his speech.

And he did not express optimism in that regard, observing that African States have tried to engage constructively with the court but have been met with “stiff resistance under the guise of protecting its independence.”

Ambassador Kamau’s remarks were made during a General Assembly session reviewing the ICC’s report on its activities in 2014/2015.

The UN body adopted a consensus resolution welcoming the report and encouraging further dialogue between the ICC and the UN. The resolution did not reflect the views offered by Kenya.

The General Assembly called upon member states to cooperate with and assist the court, particularly in regard to arresting persons facing prosecution in The Hague.

That appeal was adopted soon after Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the ICC on genocide charges, had paid an unimpeded visit to Uganda, an ICC member state, to attend the inauguration of President Yoweri Museveni.