, The Hague, Nov 20 – Kenya on Wednesday strongly appealed to Rome Statute members, particularly African countries to support a motion by the African Union (AU) which is seeking to have the Rome Statute amended to cushion sitting Heads of State from indictment.
In her appeal, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohammed, who is leading the Kenyan delegation at the Assembly of States Parties in The Hague told the plenary that the amendment is crucial for the benefit of peace and security in Africa—where the International Criminal Court (ICC) has trained its guns.
“These amendments will help eliminate rules that are causing tensions in the continent,” Amina told the plenary, “It is for the sake of peace and security which is paramount.”
The Assembly has agreed to discuss the AU request to amend the Rome Statute Thursday.
She took issue with the ICC which, she said, has continuously treated Kenya with suspicion, despite having cooperated as required by provisions of the Rome Statute.
“We are not asking much, we are simply asking for cooperation in return because as a government we have fully cooperated,” she stressed. “We want a symbiotic relationship with the court to achieve justice.”
Amina was apparently referring to accusations by the [ICC] Office of the Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda who has often accused the Kenyan government of failing to cooperate with the court on witness cooperation, and during its investigation on the cases facing President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang.
“We have done all that is required from our side and we continue to cooperate with the court, but we are not getting this cooperation in return,” she told the plenary chaired by the President of the Assembly of States Parties Tiina Intelmann.
Kenya, she said, is aware of its obligations under the Rome Statute “and will continue to respect them and that is why we ratified it.”
She reminded the Assembly’s plenary of measures taken by President Kenyatta to assist victims of the post election violence who have been resettled, and continue to receive support from the government.
“This is the obligation of the government which it must fulfil and it has done as much, we continue t support these victims including offering them psycho-social support and periodic food rations,” she said at the Assembly in which she is representing Kenya alongside Attorney General Githu Muigai, Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko and Kenya’s Ambassador to the United Nations Macharia Kamau.
And as part of the measures the government is undertaking to ensure justice for the victims, Amina told the assembly of advanced preparations to set up the International Crimes Division (ICD) at the High Court of Kenya to try those accused of perpetrating crimes during the post election violence of 2007 when some 1300 people were killed and nearly half a million others displaced.
President Kenyatta and his deputy are facing crimes against humanity charges at The Hague-based court, charges they have denied.
While Ruto’s trial is underway alongside that of journalist Joshua arap Sang, the President’s trial is set to get underway on February 5, 2014.