Don’t forget poll violence victims, US urges

September 6, 2013 8:43 am
The International Criminal Court headquarters at The Hague. Photo/ FILE
The International Criminal Court headquarters at The Hague. Photo/ FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 6 – Following the approval of a Motion by Parliament for Kenya to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the US government is calling for the fulfilment of promises made to victims of the 2008 post election violence.

According to the US State Department, there is need for the government to support the rule of law and work to ensure accountability for crimes against humanity.

“We urge the government of Kenya to fulfil its commitments to seek justice for the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence. In that regard, we note President Kenyatta’s recent statements affirming his commitment to ensure that Kenya meets its international obligations as a party to the Rome Statute,” a statement from the department said.

The move by Members of Parliament has drawn criticism from various human rights organisations.

Amnesty International pointed out that the vote would deny justice to those who were affected by the post election violence.

In a statement, the organisation’s African Director Netsanet Belay said that the move set a dangerous precedent for the future of justice in Africa.

“The vote is a disturbing attempt to deny justice to the hundreds of thousands of people who were driven from their homes or killed in the post election violence in 2007-8,” he said.

He described it as unacceptable to try and protect those facing prosecution for alleged crimes against humanity and allow them to evade justice.

Human Rights Watch on the other hand pointed out that the motion to withdraw from the ICC can’t stop the current cases facing the President and his Deputy.

“The Trial of Kenya’s deputy President William Ruto begins next Tuesday in The Hague. Every time the ICC process inches forward to deliver a justice denied Kenyans by their own government, the country’s political establishment scrambles furiously to block the way,” the organization said in a statement.

“A motion by lawmakers calling for Kenya to withdraw from the ICC can’t stop these cases. Kenya’s obligations to cooperate with the ICC in the cases before it remain intact.”

There was a charged debate in Parliament on Thursday as MPs approved the Motion that sets the stage for Kenya’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.

The Motion came barely five days before Deputy President William Ruto begins his trial for crimes against humanity at Hague.

The Leader of Majority Adan Duale introduced the Motion but it was later amended by nominated MP Johnson Sakaja and seeks to introduce a Bill within the next 30 days to repeal the International Crimes Act (No 16 of 2008) and that the Government urgently undertakes measures to immediately withdraw from the Rome Statute of the ICC adopted by the UN Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on July 17, 1998.


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