Don’t provoke the court, urge lawyers

Monday September 09 2013

Lawyers on Monday warned Parliament against pulling out of the Rome Statute and cautioned President Kenyatta against giving conditions to the international court.

Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua said Parliament’s vote last week to withdraw Kenya from the law establishing the International Criminal Court was “ill-advised” and could provoke judges to take unprecedented action, jeopardising the position of anyone appearing as a suspect before the court.

“For legal arguments, it is not advisable for Kenya to withdraw from the ICC. The move by Parliament is ill-advised, in our opinion and it is not well thought out, both for the President and the Deputy President,” he said while addressing the media at LSK offices in Nairobi.

Mr Mutua said the MP’s move may end up sending bad signals to the court and the international community. “Once that signal is out there, we do not know where the court will stop or do.”

Last Thursday, Parliament approved a motion to suspend cooperation with the ICC, where President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto are facing crimes against humanity charges.

At the same time, the society urged President Kenyatta to stop giving the court conditions on the timing of their cases with his deputy.


“If you give conditions to a court, then you are starting on the wrong footing. You cannot dictate to a court how to operate. Once you start doing that, you antagonise the court and there are consequences of doing that,” Mr Mutua said.

President Kenyatta said on Sunday that he cannot be out of the country on trial at the same time with his deputy.

But Mr Mutua advised the President to let his lawyers make the case for him instead of taking on the court.