China lends Kenya hand in ICC duel

January 27, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 27 – China on Thursday appeared to back Kenya\’s efforts to have the post election violence cases handled through a local judicial mechanism.

Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Guangyuan who met President Mwai Kibaki at Harambee House on Thursday afternoon said his country was opposed to any form of interference in the country\’s internal affairs.

"The Chinese government fully supports the integrity and sovereignty of Kenya and is opposed to interference of her internal affairs by external forces," a statement from the President\’s office said.

It added that China also supported Kenya\’s cause for peace and harmonious co-existence of ethnic communities, observing that justice must go hand in hand with reconciliation of the Kenyan people.

China is however, not a member state to the ICC Rome statute.

The envoy spoke as the President of the Assembly of State parties to the ICC Christian Wenaweser who is in the country announced he was opposed to the government\’s attempt to have the case deferred through the African Union.

President Mwai Kibaki has dispatched his deputy Kalonzo Musyoka to various African nations to lobby for their support ahead of this weekend\’s AU Summit in Addis Ababa where the Head of State intends to table the Kenyan issue.

Mr Musyoka\’s shuttle diplomacy has however, sparked a major political storm in the country, with Prime Minister Raila Odinga saying the mission is not sanctioned by the Cabinet.

On Thursday, Lands Minister James Orengo, one of Mr Odinga\’s allies said Mr Musyoka\’s mission abroad was unnecessary because "there are other options of dealing with the matter."

Mr Orengo said it was possible to seek a deferral of the cases against the six suspects of post election violence through the ICC using local mechanisms in accordance with the international criminal act.

Addressing a press conference in his office after a meeting with Ambassador Wenaweser, the minister said the co operation with the International Criminal Court was not subject to Rome statute but to the country\’s constitution and the international criminal act.

Mr Orengo said that impunity in the country must be punished  adding that some of the victims of the post election violence were  still living in deplorable conditions in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps.

"We don\’t need to go through the AU to have the case deferred, all that diplomatic shuttle is completely unnecessary," Mr Orengo said.

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