UN takes tough stance on Uhuru ICC trial

Thursday October 17 2013

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on October 16, 2013 reiterated that AU member-states

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on October 16, 2013 reiterated that AU member-states "must continue to engage with the International Criminal Court in a constructive manner." Photo/FILE NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KEVIN J. KELLEY
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New York

Countries that signed the treaty creating the International Criminal Court must continue to honour their obligations, the United Nations has said.

According to spokesman Martin Nesirky, the UN may not respond favourably to the African Union´s insistence that President Uhuru Kenyatta skip the ICC trial.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is said to be monitoring the situation and on Wednesday reiterated that AU member-states " must continue to engage with the International Criminal Court in a constructive manner."

It is understood, however, that the UN Security Council will agree to take up the proposal for a one-year deferral of President Kenyatta´s trial. (READ: Amina sets out to woo the UN)

SECURITY THREAT

The 15-member council is expected to consider the request under a section of the ICC treaty that allows for a deferral on the basis of a perceived threat to international peace and security.

Sources say Kenya´s allies in the Security Council will argue that the Westgate Mall terror attack constitutes such a threat.

Kenyan troops take position on September 21, 2013 during the attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi. AFP PHOTO/ JAMES QUEST

Kenyan troops take position during the attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi on September 21, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ JAMES QUEST

They will further argue that President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto must be in a position to counter such threats without having to juggle answering to charges at a court in Europe.

United States, the most powerful member of the Security Council, is yet to state its view on the AU´s call for a deferral and for sitting African heads of State be declared immune to ICC prosecutions.

However, the US has in the past opposed moves to defer or terminate the cases against Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto.