ICC Kenyan Trials Thrown Into A Spin By AU
The International Criminal Court is uncertain
on what action would be taken to President
Uhuru Kenyatta if he fails to attend his trial on
“I can’t speculate,” ICC Outreach Coordinator
for Kenya and Uganda, Maria Mabinty Kamara
(VIDEO: Will President Uhuru Kenyatta skip
Speaking at Panafric Hotel in Nairobi during
the monthly Journalists for Justice Forum, Ms
Kamara said President Kenyatta is still
required to attend trial next month pending
the petitions he has filed.
Ms Kamara said President Kenyatta and his
deputy William Ruto had committed
themselves that they will continue to
cooperate with ICC.
There has been speculation that a warrant of
arrest would be issued if President Kenyatta
fails to attend the trial as demanded by some
of his supporters.
Ms Kamara said the President and his deputy
have been cooperating fully with ICC including
when they were issued with summons to
appear before the court.
The duo, Ms Kamara added, had also complied
with conditions not to interfere with witnesses
or intimidate them.
She said 30 witnesses are lined up to give
evidence in the ongoing Ruto and journalist
Joshua Arap Sang case. The witnesses are
crime based, linkage and experts.
NO COMMUNICATION ON DEFERRAL
She said the ICC will abide by the United
Nations Security Council decision on request
for the deferral of cases facing President
Kenyatta and Mr Ruto by the African Union.
She however said there has been no
communication from the court whether the
request had been received.
Ms Kamara said the ICC could leave Kenya to
handle case facing journalists Walter Barasa if
the country establishes credible proceedings
against him and charges the former Eldoret
based correspondent with the charges the ICC
has lined up for him.
(Read: Court to decide how to handle Barasa
“ICC has principle of complementarity. It will
only investigate if assembly of state party is
unable or unwilling to do so,” Ms Kamara said.
She said Mr Barasa could challenge the
admissibility of his case at the Hague but the
state has to establish to a process to
investigate him on same crime.
“The process has to be genuine,” Ms Kamara
Mr Barasa is seeking to stop legal proceedings
in Kenya that could lead to Kenya extraditing
him to the ICC to face charges of interfering
with witnesses in the case facing Mr Ruto and
Human rights lawyer Njonjo Mue took issue
with the State’s description of cases facing
President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto as a national
problem, yet the Head of State had termed it
personal before the March election.
Mr Njue said the ICC cases facing the three
Kenyans were not about them, Kenya’s
sovereignty or the African Union but for the
1,133 people who died following the 2007
post-election violence, the 600,000 people
who were rooted from their homes, scores of
women who were raped and infected with HIV/
Aids and men who were forcefully circumcised.
“The cases are not for one or three people or
those who have mobilised all resources of
state and the continent to put a spanner in the
will of justice,” Mr Njue said.
Mr Njue said Mr Ruto is on record saying it
would take ICC 90 years to initiate the Kenyan
cases, a “time when we shall all be dead,” and
that it is Parliament and the government that
took Kenya to the Hague by refusing to
establish a local tribunal or act on Kenya’s
worst violence since independence.
“As a law abiding country, we should stick to
the Hague process. Sovereignty does not
mean leave us alone, we shall call you when
we have a problem like Westgate attack.
Sovereignty is about being responsible to
protect,” Mr Njue said.
Mr Njue said of the eight cases being handled
by ICC, five were referred by governments of
those countries including one by Uganda
President Yoweri Museveni of Lord Resistance
Army leader Joseph Kony.
Two of the cases were referred to ICC by the
UNSC while the “Kenyan case was referred to
the ICC through a process started by the AU
itself when it appointed Kofi Annan.”
“Kenya called on ICC when it failed to commit
itself to do what it committed under the Rome
Statute it signed voluntarily in 1999 and
ratified in 2005. ICC is about victims
regardless of how powerful politicians are,” Mr
'POORLY ATTENDED' AU SUMMIT
Mr Stephen Lamony who is senior adviser, AU,
UN and Africa Situation Coalition for ICC said
no individual including the President enjoys
immunity from prosecution under the Kenyan
constitution and Rome statute for crimes
against humanity, war crimes or genocide.
He said a decision adopted by a poorly
attended “extraordinary summit” of the AU
calling upon the UNSC and ICC to postpone the
trial of Mr Kenyatta is a step backwards in the
continent's fight against impunity.
Pre-summit proposals for a “mass withdrawal”
from the ICC treaty and for total non-
cooperation by African states were rejected at
the AU meeting. Mr Lamony said less than a
third of the 54 AU heads of state or
governments attended or were represented by
ministers at the summit last weekend.
Many of the 130 African and international
NGOs that wrote to African ICC states parties
calling on them to reaffirm their support for
the court believe that governments expressed
their objections to the purpose of the meeting
by not attending.