AU backing for Ocampo Six rubbished

January 13, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 13 – The International Centre for Transitional Justice says it is unlikely that African Union member states will support the call by Kenya to withdraw from the Rome Statute which establishes the International Criminal Court .

The Head of the ICTJ Kenya Office Njonjo Mue ruled out a case of a bloc withdrawal by African countries which form the largest members to the court.

"Although the AU has its issues with the refusal of the ICC to defer the Bashir indictment, African states have not individually said they have a problem, so they will withdraw but it is awaited to be seen what the game plan is," he told Capital News.

This comes in the wake of reports that the Government has sent ministers to lobby different African countries to support its efforts to have the six Kenyans named by the International Criminal Court tried locally.

Only this week, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka met Presidents Jacob Zuma and Yoweri Museveni over the issue and is expected to travel to Malawi with only two weeks left before African Union Heads of State meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for an AU summit.

"I am not sure what they are lobbying for, or what sort of support they are expecting from them. It would appear that it is aimed at shoring up support ahead of the AU summit," he said.

Mr Mue added: "We don\’t know whether it is support to push the AU to make similar declaration in regard to the arrest and surrender of Bashir with regard to the Ocampo six in Kenya."

Trade Minister Chirau Mwakwere, Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno and Nairobi Metropolitan Development Minister Njeru Githae have been tasked with lobbying Botswana, Lesotho, Ghana, Nigeria and Djibouti.

At the same time, the human rights group has faulted the move by MPs to repeal the International Crimes Act in a fresh bid to stop the prosecution of the Ocampo six.

The ICTJ country chief said adoption of such a Motion would erode Kenya\’s commitment to fighting impunity and providing justice to Kenyans.

Five MPs on Wednesday said that they had prepared a Bill to facilitate withdrawal of Kenya from the International Criminal Court when Parliament resumes on Tuesday.

"If the withdrawal is because of the six it will be a process in futility the sad thing is we will end up damaging our international credibility and make it much easier to repeat such crimes because in a sense impunity would have won the day," he said.

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo last month named Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, suspended Cabinet ministers William Ruto, Henry Kosgey, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, former Police Commissioner Major General (Rtd) Hussein Ali and Kass FM presenter Joshua arap Sang as most responsible for the 2008 post poll chaos.

Mr Mue contends that most of the efforts witnessed as The Hague summonses loom – such as the move by Parliament to have Kenya repeal the International Criminal Act and pull out of the Rome Statute – will have absolutely no bearing on the ongoing investigations facing the Six.

He said that any Kenyan can now go to the High Court to challenge the decision by the Executive or Parliament to withdraw Kenya from its responsibilities to the ICC

"If two businessmen have moved to court to stop Justice Kalpana Rawal from taking statement from security chiefs, what is to stop Kenyans from saying that Parliament is going against their wish to allow ICC to do it work?" Mr Mue wondered.


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