Kenya lobbies Africa to pullout of ICC

January 11, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 11 – Several Cabinet Minister have left Kenya on a mission to countries around Africa to lobby support ahead of the tabling of a Motion before the African Union (AU), to push for Kenya\’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court statute.

The AU meeting will take place between January 30 and 31 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Union has already urged for a deferment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir\’s indictment by the ICC and could undoubtedly back Kenya\’s bid.

Knowledgeable sources say the mission around the continent is led by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who is already in South Africa for a one-day visit where he is expected to hold talks with President Jacob Zuma.

Mr Musyoka is also due to visit Kampala, Uganda for talks with President Yoweri Museveni.

Others dispatched by the government include Public Services Minister Dalmas Otieno who is understood to be headed to West Africa and Nairobi Metropolitan Minister Njeru Githae who is headed to the Horn of Africa.

The mission comes after a meeting between the President and Prime Minister in the New Year where it was understood that there would be a push for Kenya to establish a local tribunal to try perpetrators of post-election violence.

After ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo named six suspects he wants tried for the deadly 2008 violence, President Mwai Kibaki made it clear that he did not plan to take any action against them.

He said any calls for action against them was "prejudicial, pre-emptive and against the rules of natural justice."

"They cannot be judged as guilty until the charges are confirmed by the court," the President said.

He pointed out that those mentioned had not yet been fully investigated as the pre-trial process in The Hague had only begun and should therefore not be condemned.

President Kibaki repeated the government\’s commitment to establish a local judicial mechanism to try those behind the post election violence.

"As a nation we must also focus on the need for national healing and reconciliation. This is paramount as we move forward on the path of national peace and unity."

Those in the list of six unveiled by Mr Ocampo include Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta, suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto and Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey.

The others are Head of the Civil Service Ambassador Francis Muthaura and former Police Commissioner Major General (rtd) Mohammed Hussein Ali as well as KASS FM radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.

Even if Kenya withdraws from the Rome Statute, ICC cannot stop its process.

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