, ETHIOPIA, Jan 30 – Kenya\’s bid for a deferral of the International Criminal Court case against the Ocampo Six got a major boost on Sunday when an IGAD summit in Addis Ababa endorsed the proposal.
The Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) leaders gave their approval to a request by President Mwai Kibaki that Kenya be given twelve months to establish a judicial mechanism to try the perpetrators of the deadly post-election violence in 2007/2008.
"We cannot allow the only country in our region that has enjoyed stability to be destabilized on the grounds of a technicality. All that the Kenyans are asking for is a 12 month period to be allowed to put in place a mechanism that will bring about justice and avoid a repeat of the post election violence," said Ethiopia\’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who chaired the IGAD meeting.
The IGAD Heads of State said they would support Kenya\’s efforts at building peace and national reconciliation while at the same time bringing about justice.
Speaking at the IGAD leaders meeting, President Kibaki said that Kenya was committed to the process of justice and dealing with those who were behind the violence.
"On 27th August last year, we promulgated the New Constitution of Kenya, paving way for a wide range of judicial and police reforms in order to create Kenya\’s local judicial mechanism with sufficient capacity, and with the ability to investigate and try all perpetrators of post-election violence in 2008. The process of creating these new institutions is quite advanced today and there will be no going back," the President told the IGAD leaders.
The President pointed out that there were provisions that allowed for a deferment.
"It is for this reason that I seek your support for a UN Security Council Deferral of the Kenya case as provided for under Article 16 of the Rome Statute so as to give Kenya twelve months within which to set up the local judicial process and embark on completion of investigations and trials of the post election violence," the President told the IGAD meeting that was held on the sidelines of the A.U. meeting.
President Kibaki said that Kenya was on the path of major reforms that needed to be institutionalised.
"Kenya is a fully functioning state and the provisions of deferral under the principle of complementarity are most appropriate for the country. It will boost our efforts of peace, justice and reconciliation as well as uphold our national dignity and sovereignty; and prevent the resumption of conflict and violence," said the President.
The President thanked the IGAD leaders for their support and expressed his utmost gratitude for the support Kenya has received so far, particularly from the region as demonstrated in the manner by which they received special envoys on this matter.
IGAD is now expected to table the resolution on the Kenyan deferment at the Heads of State African Union Summit.