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
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.