, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 3 – A civil society group has gone to court seeking orders to bar President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto from attending the upcoming International Criminal Court trials at The Hague.
The National Conservative Forum argues that the two leaders should attend the trials – which are scheduled to start this month – after their term is over to avert a constitutional crisis.
The lobby said that the Constitution required the two leaders to be in the country and only allows them to leave on official duties.
It also took issue with the 1999 government’s signing of the Rome Statute arguing that it was not correctly adopted after being ratified in 2005.
Justice Weldon Korir who heard the ex-parte application certified the matter as urgent and directed that the application be served on the Attorney General.
The matter will be heard on Wednesday inter-partes to determine the issues raised by the petitioner.
Members of the National Assembly are also scheduled to reconvene on Thursday followed by the Senate next Tuesday to discuss Kenya’s membership of the ICC and withdraw the country’s membership status.
“It’s just like the way a police officer or a doctor can be called back to their work stations while on leave to address an emergency situation. So if this matter is done away with before September 17, then we will go back to recess,” said Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki on Monday.
International law experts however maintain that this move will not have any bearing on the Kenyan cases, currently before the Court.
Ruto and his co-accused Joshua arap Sang have at the same time reapplied to the ICC asking the plenary to reverse a decision denying them a chance to have the trials held in Tanzania or Kenya.
While making the request, the two noted that the judges considered late submissions made by Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who had initially indicated that she did not have a problem with the trials being held in either of the venues.
“Instead of rejecting the late submission by the Prosecution, or alternatively adjourning the Plenary session in order to allow the defence and other interested parties to respond, the Plenary of Judges accepted the Prosecutor’s filing,” noted Ruto’s lawyer Karim Khan.