Kenya snubs ICC meet­ing in ‘silent protest’

Gov­ern­ment is about to make a de­ci­sion on whether to with­draw from the court. There is pres­sure from some AU states

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics - OLIVER MATHENGE @Oliv­erMa­thenge

Kenya con­tin­ues to give the ICC the cold shoul­der. This week, the gov­ern­ment for the first time failed to send a high-pro­file del­e­ga­tion to the As­sem­bly of States Par­ties.

In what is prov­ing to be a silent protest against The Hague-based court, top gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who have rep­re­sented Kenya for the last three years will not be at the ASP, which starts to­day. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Githu Muigai told the Star Kenya will be rep­re­sented by its am­bas­sador to The Nether­lands Mak­ena Muchiri.

Kenya has ac­tively par­tic­i­pated in the pre­vi­ous three ASPs as it fought the ICC cases brought against Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta and Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto.

The del­e­ga­tions to the pre­vi­ous ASPs have in­cluded Githu, For­eign Af­fairs CS Amina Mo­hamed, Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions Ke­ri­ako To­biko, Solic­i­tor Gen­eral Njee Mu­turi and Kenyan Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the UN Macharia Ka­mau. In ad­di­tion, some MPs have been part of the high-pow­ered del­e­ga­tions that have pushed sev­eral amend­ments to the Rome Statute. Sources within the gov­ern­ment told the Star the leaner del­e­ga­tion is part of the protest against the court.

The gov­ern­ment is about to make a de­ci­sion on whether to with­draw from the court due to pres­sure from its African Union peers. South Africa, Bu­rundi and the Gam­bia have al­ready started the with­drawal process.

Kenya mo­bilised the AU into agree­ing on a mass with­drawal from the court, but has delayed the de­ci­sion as it seeks to push for re­forms at the United Na­tions.

In 2013, at the ASP held in New York, Kenya pushed for the adop­tion of an amend­ment to Rule 134 of the rules of pro­ce­dure which al­lowed Uhuru and Ruto not to at­tend their tri­als but in­stead be rep­re­sented by their lawyers.

This al­lowed the ICC not to treat Uhuru and Ruto as mere sus­pects but rather in­di­vid­u­als with “ex­tra­or­di­nary obli­ga­tions” in their coun­try.

In 2014, Kenya was back with an­other raft of amend­ments in a bid to amend the Rome Statute to give im­mu­nity to heads of state and gov­ern­ment and their deputies. Kenya also fought to have a sup­ple­men­tary agenda item added to dis­cuss the con­duct of the ICC and the prose­cu­tion. Last year, apart from the gov­ern­ment del­e­ga­tion, Pokot South MP David Pkos­ing led a del­e­ga­tion of 20 MPs with a pe­ti­tion de­mand­ing the amend­ment of Rule 68 on the use of re­canted state­ments.

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