Kenya will not relent on ICC deferral route

March 11, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – The government on Thursday vowed to push on with its shuttle diplomacy to the Security Council, in an attempt to seek a deferral of the International Criminal Court (ICC) cases, despite plans by the US to turn it down.

Government spokesman Alfred Mutua said that although the US had maintained its opposition to the motion, the high level delegation led by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, would carry on with the mission.

But if any permanent member of the Security Council vetos a request, the entire application is thrown out regardless of any substantive resolution by the other members.

“So we are going to convince them otherwise; we cannot just give up because they have said that, so far, they are not willing. Maybe once they hear our side of the story (and it’s much more complicated than that) then they will be able to make that decision on the floor of the House,” he argued.

Dr Mutua also said that Kenyan authorities had not yet received official communication from the US indicating their intention.

He added that the government’s decision to challenge the admissibility of the ICC processes as well as the Court’s jurisdiction was based on consultations between the President and Prime Minister.

He said that the two leaders were not under any obligation to consult the Cabinet committee on the ICC before making their decision. Dr Mutua explained that it was only the line ministers who were informed of the principals’ decision.

“The PM was there and the President was there and the decision was made. All the Cabinet committees are there to represent the two. The two leaders can sit and issue a statement without reference to any of the committees,” he said.

The government had on Wednesday issued a statement, signed by Attorney General Amos Wako, Acting Foreign Affairs Minister George Saitoti and Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo, saying that it would challenge the ICC process.

Dr Mutua also defended the government from accusations of promoting impunity saying it was only concerned with protecting the rights of its citizens. He argued that even if the six Kenyan suspects each bore individual responsibility for the crimes preferred against them, Kenya was obligated to protect them.

“If you are accused in the line of duty, then the government has the responsibility to defend you. You can’t shield yourself because we are not horses with blinds and the ICC does not prosecute governments; it takes individuals who operate within a government,” he said.

“But then what does it mean for any Kenyan to be taken to the ICC?” he posed.

The government spokesman further argued that the fact that Kenya had a new constitution increased the need for the country to question the mechanisms of the ICC. He said that times had changed for Kenya and that the country was committed to enhancing reforms.

“There are a lot of questions about the process, its intention, justice, who was picked, why and how. Kenyans know what was going on in this country and they would like to see what they know reflected so if they see something which goes against the reality of what they know then they question it,” he said.

He added that the government was still working on resettling the Internally Displaced Persons noting that some were demanding to be taken back to their land.

“We have been having challenges with some IDPs with some refusing to take land from the government but we are working on that,” he said. 

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