Bill to quit ICC set for tabling in House next week

Friday September 13 2013

Eldoret North MP William Ruto (left) and Dujis MP Aden Duale at a past event. Photo/FILE

Eldoret North MP William Ruto (left) and Dujis MP Aden Duale at a past event. Photo/FILE 

CAROLINE WAFULA
By CAROLINE WAFULA
More by this Author

A Bill to effect Kenya’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court will be tabled in Parliament next week.

Majority Leader Aden Duale has already drafted the Bill and is scheduled to table it before Parliament on Thursday when the National Assembly resumes its sittings.

The one page Bill seeks to repeal the International Crimes Act (No 16 of 2008), which Kenya enacted in December 2008.

The Act of Parliament makes provision for the punishment of international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It also allows Kenya to co-operate with the ICC established by the Rome Statute in the performance of its functions.

Apart from the repeal Bill, Mr Duale will also table before the House a petition asking the committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to look into several issues as regards the Waki list of the alleged perpetrators of the 2007/08 post-poll chaos.

Special sittings

Both the Senate and National Assembly have endorsed Kenya’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, adopted by the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on July 17, 1998.

Both Houses, which have been on recess, convened special sittings early this month where majority leaders moved motions urging the government to urgently initiate measures for immediate withdrawal from the Rome Statute.

The Bill coming before Parliament next week is a result of the decision taken by both Houses.

In a special sitting on September 5, the Jubilee wing of the National Assembly approved introduction of the Bill within 30 days.

Speaking on telephone from Dubai, Mr Duale who is among MPs who accompanied Deputy President William Ruto to The Hague, told Saturday Nation yesterday that the Bill was in draft form and would be ready for presentation to Parliament on Thursday.

The process of withdrawal is expected to take one year. The Majority Leader is expected to ask the parliamentary committee on Implementation on Monday to write to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking it to initiate the process of withdrawal.

This will require the Cabinet Secretary, Ambassador Amina Mohammed, to officially write to the UN notifying them that Kenya intends to initiate the process of withdrawal.

And while at The Hague, Mr Duale and seven other members of his Jubilee Coalition were invited to a meeting by leaders of the three main parties in the Netherlands to discuss Kenya’s withdrawal plans.

The leaders of the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Liberals convened the meeting in which they expressed concern about the ongoing push by Kenya.

Majority party MPs who attended the meeting alongside Duale included Baringo North MP William Cheptumo, Sigor MP Philip Rotino, Kangema MP Sabina Chege, Kajiado West MP Moses Ole Sekuda, Igembe South MP Florence Kajuju and Thika Town MP Alice Ng’ang’a.

The legislators explained the position taken by the Kenyan Parliament and according to Mr Duale, were able to persuade the political leaders to understand Kenya’s position.

“They bought our argument and they were of the view that the ICC needs to reform. The feeling was that the ICC gives more hearing to the civil society than it does to state parties,” he said, citing the Attorney General of Kenya and the cabinet secretary for Foreign Affairs as some key government officials who do not have a platform at the international court.

According to the Majority Leader, the three parties promised to raise the matter at the State Party conference in November. Mr Duale is said to have declined an invitation to attend the Twelfth session of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to be held at The Hague from 20 to 28 November.

The meeting was arranged with the assistance of the Kenya ambassador in the Netherlands.

And in the petition that Mr Duale is scheduled to present before Parliament on Wednesday, he wants the committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, among others, to determine whether the Commission of Inquiry on Post-Election Violence (CIPEV), popularly referred to as the Waki Commission violated the Constitution of Kenya and the Commissions of Inquiry Act in handing over the envelope of names of suspected perpetrators to former UN Secretary General Koffi Annan who successfully brokered a power sharing deal.

The Government formed the commission in February 2008 as part of the mediation talks and it was chaired by then Justice Philip Waki. It was mandated to investigate the PEV.

The Jubilee coalition, however, has taken issue with the handover of the contentious envelope to Mr Annan, arguing that he has no constitutional jurisdiction in Kenya. Part of the argument that the Majority Leader will be presenting to the National Assembly next week is that the commission should have presented its report and the envelope to the President of Kenya and not to Mr Annan since it paid by taxpayers’ money.

He bases the argument on Section 7 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act which requires the commission to report to the President and to the National Assembly, in writing, the result of the inquiry and the reasons for the conclusions arrived at.

“Waki instead handed over to Annan. We want this investigated,” Mr Duale said Thursday.

He also wants the committee of Parliament to compel Mr Waki to state the other 14 names out of the 20 names that were contained in the envelope, arguing that it is only fair that the country knows who the other 14 are.

Mr Waki might be forced to appear before the Justice and Legal Affairs committee if the House approves the petition allowing investigation into the issues next week.

Further, he wants Parliament to investigate the International Commission of Jurists Executive Director Mr George Kegoro who was the secretary to the Waki commission over his articles in the print media and his alleged involvement and relations with the ICC.

He also wants Parliament to look into whether the ICC conducted an investigation on the matter on its own or whether it completely relied on the information that was submitted by the commissions and civil society groups.

Under this, he wants a clarification on the official report submitted by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights submitted to the ICC with regard to PEV given that two different reports were submitted – one signed by Mr Maina Kiai and another by Ms Florence Jaoko. The latter’s report is said to have excluded some names.