Kenya condemns move on Al Bashir

July 18, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, July 18 – Kenya has called on the international community to reject the indictment against Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir, by the International Criminal Court.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said the indictment for alleged genocide should be rejected, because it would compromise security in the war-torn nation by threatening the on-going implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Musyoka called the indictment ill-timed and said it raised many diplomatic and legal issues.

“It is directed at a sitting head of sovereign state, which is not even a member of the ICC,” he explained.

The VP made the remarks at his Jogoo House office after holding talks with Sudan’s ambassador to Kenya, Majok Guandong.

Musyoka applauded the African Union (AU) for taking a firm stand against the ICC move, and implored the international community to support it.

ICC’s chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accused Al-Bashir on Monday of masterminding a genocidal campaign in Darfur and asked the ICC judges to issue a warrant for his arrest.

If granted, the warrant would be the first ever issued by The Hague-based court against a sitting Head of State.

While expressing optimism that the UN will vote to suspend the ICC move, Musyoka urged all Pan-africanists to add their voice to the condemnation.

Ocampo meanwhile has defended his decision and brushed off fears that the move might hurt peace prospects.

"My responsibility is to investigate cases, to present them to the (ICC) judges. That’s what I am doing," he told reporters at the UN headquarters.

"I cannot be considering political factors but I have to inform the political actors," said the prosecutor.

There have been efforts by African and Arab states to seek a one-year suspension of any indictment of Al-Bashir under Article 16 of the Rome Statute.

Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno, president of the ICC assembly of state parties, said this was an issue for the UN Security Council.

"Obviously you would need the votes in the Security Council for that to go through and I think that’s still an open question," he added.

Western council members have said it would be premature to consider such a freeze since Ocampo’s request for Bashir’s arrest has not yet been approved by the ICC’s judges.

Back in Nairobi, Sudanese envoy Guangdong has condemned the indictment saying it not only violated the sovereignty of his country, but also tended to distract the country from concentrating on her peace process.

And a statement sent by Musyoka’s press office read that the Kenyan government was in favour of alternative persuasive measures to resolve the Darfur crisis, rather than acts that could lead to the disintegration of the country.


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