, NAIROBI, Kenya, December 27 – The Kenyan Chapter of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) now says that a Motion passed by Parliament seeking to withdraw Kenya from the Rome Statute was ‘ill advised’.
Chairman Albert Kamunde on Monday said that other than damaging the relationship between Kenya and other countries, the attempt has painted the Kenyan legislators as ‘hypocritical.’
“It has come soon after the Ocampo six were named. One can conclude that their naming has triggered the resolution in Parliament. We will be the first country to do so and one would wonder why we ratify the Statute itself and then withdraw,” he said. “It will be an embarrassment really for the other countries.”
He said that the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute would set back significant gains made towards giving people affected by the post election violence justice.
“It is contrary to the expectations of Kenyans because after the 2007/2008 violence, one of the things that was to be done was actually to give justice to Kenyans who lost their lives and those whose property was actually destroyed,” he explained.
The Association of Professional Societies in East Africa also sharply criticised the vote by Parliament to withdraw Kenya from the International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty.
Chairman Daniel Ichang’I said the attempt to withdraw from the Rome Statute will damage Kenya’s reputation with other countries.
“It reflects very badly on us. You must remember that we are dealing with loss of human lives on the altar of politics and we cannot accept the fact that some of these people who may have been involved and actually are in all likelihood second tier suspects derailing the process,” he pointed out
He observed that it will set a bad precedent when cases similar to the ones observed in the post election violence occur.
“That Motion and the passage of that Motion is seriously misplaced, it is wrong and remember that we have just passed a new Constitution. We may have a situation whereby every time our judicial system passes an unfortunate law or condemn somebody – they may say – we demolish the Judiciary,” he stated.
“I think the way forward is for the President not to assent to that Motion at all,” he added.
Kenyan MPs voted overwhelmingly for the country to pull out of the treaty which created the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
The move came a week after the ICC prosecutor named six Kenyans he accuses of being behind post-election violence.
The prosecutor\’s list included senior politicians and civil servants.
The MPs do not have the power to effect any immediate change in relation to the ICC but they have sent a message to government to start withdrawing.
Some 1,200 people died and more than 500,000 fled their homes in the violence following the disputed election in December 2007.
It ended when President Mwai Kibaki and his rival Raila Odinga agreed to share power, with Mr Odinga becoming Prime Minister.
In the peace deal they signed it was agreed perpetrators would face justice in Kenya or at the ICC in The Hague.
During the late-night session, the MPs decried the ICC as a colonial, anti-African court and said that Kenya was surrendering its sovereignty.