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Kenya launches anti-ICC push

Thursday January 29 2015

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed. FILE PHOTO | BILLY MUTAI

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed. Kenya is Friday set to present its case to the rest of Africa for a speedy ratification of the protocol to create an African version of the International Criminal Court. FILE PHOTO | BILLY MUTAI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

JOHN NGIRACHU
By JOHN NGIRACHU
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Kenya is Friday set to present its case to the rest of Africa for a speedy ratification of the protocol to create an African version of the International Criminal Court.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed set the pace for this by signing the Malabo Protocol, which grants criminal jurisdiction to the African Court of Justice and Human Rights.

It will then be presented to Parliament for ratification, but at least 15 countries need to back it before the court can be set up.

“Kenya was the first country to sign the protocol because we have always said we believe in Africans solving African problems. We also believe that if we have our own court, we’ll have our own way of solving our problems,” she told reporters on Wednesday.

SALVA KIIR TAKEN ILL

Ms Mohammed said the cases being prosecuted in the ICC at The Hague “are not doing much for the judicial system in our countries.”

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President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived yesterday and attended a meeting of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to discuss South Sudan. The meeting was delayed after South Sudan President Salva Kiir was taken ill.

Once the protocol is ratified by 15 states, the African court will have jurisdiction over individual and corporate criminal responsibility.

If the African Union Summit supports the ratification of the protocol, it could trigger a mass exit from the Rome Statute.

According to nominated Senator Beatrice Elachi, the need for foreign support to fight Ebola could rally Western African countries to support Kenya’s cause. The expansion of the court’s mandate is viewed by Kenya as a key strategy to apply political and diplomatic pressure on the ICC to drop or withdraw the charges against Deputy President William Ruto.

A meeting organised by the Kenya Citizens Coalition, on the sidelines of the summit, brought together participants, among them elders involved in reconciliation in the Rift Valley, MPs and non-governmental organisations officials.

To seek the support of delegates from other countries, 12 MPs, members of the Kenya National Council of elders are attending the meeting in Addis Ababa.
Ms Mohammed and other delegates have argued that the case against Mr Ruto was a threat to peace and stability in Kenya.

Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi said: “In the absence of an acquittal or a dismissal of the case against the Deputy President, there can never be peace in Kenya. That I can say without fear.”

Bumula MP Boniface Otsiula, who has authored a Bill to withdraw Kenya from the international court said: “On the day the President was acquitted, there was tension in the Rift Valley.”

The resolutions will be announced at the close of the annual summit on Saturday.

Most participants were Kenyans but with representatives from South Sudan, Ethiopia, Togo and the African Union Commission present.

OUR AFRICANNESS

Major John Seii, the vice chairman of the Kenya National Council of Elders, said; “The elders have done their work all along, whether in meetings, barazas and churches. We are African and we solve our problems through our Africanness.”

Mr Ronald Osumba presented the results of an audit of the resettlement of the displaced by the government at a cost of Sh15.1 billion since 2008.

“We must remind the international community that Kenya is a new country,” said Mr Osumba, who was Mr Peter Kenneth’s running mate at the last General Election.

Defence and Foreign Relations Committee chairman Ndung’u Gethenji said Kenya would push for the enhanced mandate of the African court.

“The international court seeks to contradict the political and African solutions to these activities. Africa must stand and say we’ll not be manipulated politically and played around with,” said Mr Gethenji.