, NEW YORK, Unites States, Sep 28 – Developments in the case facing Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto and the pursuit of Sudanese leader Omar al Bashir have prompted a renewed bid from Africa to halt the processes.
An inaugural meeting of the Open-Ended Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs on the International Criminal Court took place at the Africa Union Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations on Sunday, to chart the agenda.
Members of the committee from Burundi, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Sudan, South Sudan and Senegal attended the meeting which drafted eight recommendations they will pursue.
Top on the list is a petition to the Chairperson of the African Union and President of Zimbabwe “to request the United Nations Security Council to inscribe on its agenda, the request for deferral of the proceedings against President Omar Hassan Bashir of Sudan and Deputy President William Ruto of Kenya.”
The committee under the chairmanship of Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will engage with the African Group in New York and the African members of the United Nations Security Council to develop a strategy for placing the deferral requests on the agenda of the UNSC.
“The committee will engage with members of United Nations Security Council and particularly permanent members on the deferral requests as well as other concerns of the African Union on its relationship with International Criminal Court,” the members agreed.
It will also develop a comprehensive strategy for the speedy operationalisation and funding for the African Court of Justice on Human and Peoples’ Rights in conformity with the decision of the Assembly on the ICC and Africa.
As members of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) prepare to meet in November, the committee will engage with the ASP on Africa’s relationship with the ICC.
The committee emphasised that “African State Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC should periodically assess and evaluate their continued membership as parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC.”
Soon after the meeting, members of the Kenyan delegation told journalists in New York that there was a general understanding that Rule 68 – which is now being applied in the case against Ruto to allow use of recanted evidence – would not be applied retroactively.
“Application of Rule 68 is changing the justice system across the world. The court should be beyond reproach and it won’t be business as usual at The Hague,” the chairman of the National Assembly Defence and Foreign Relations Committee Ndung’u Gethenji said.
He was accompanied at the briefing by MPs David Pkosing, Katoo ole Metito, Soipan Tuya and Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.