IGAD to meet over Kenya’s ICC withdrawal bid

January 22, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22 – A Heads of State and government meeting of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will be Convened on the sidelines of the forthcoming African Union(AU) Summit, to take a position on Kenya’s request for a deferral of the ICC cases facing Post Election Violence PEV) suspects.

The current chair of the IGAD, Ethiopian Prime Minister Atto Meles Zenawi, has agreed to convene the meeting and at the same time expressed a strong support for Kenya’s quest for a deferral.
The resolution from the IGAD meeting will then be presented to the Summit.

The AU Commission through its chair Jean Ping also endorsed Kenya’s request on the ICC matter saying it was within the realm of the rights of all ICC member states.

The two leaders were speaking separately in Addis Ababa, when they held talks with Kenya’s Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who is leading Kenya’s push for a deferral of the ICC cases in favour of prosecution through a local judicial mechanism.
The Vice President briefed the two leaders on Kenya’s commitment to remain a member of the ICC in good standing, but carry out prosecutions on the PEV suspects through special local mechanisms as a way of rallying Kenyans to have faith in the country’s local institutions under the new constitutional dispensation.
“Let no one interpret our move to mean that we are running away from justice for the victims and condoning impunity. What we want to do is to make it clear to our international friends that we are now capable of handling our internal problems,” Mr Musyoka said.
The VP who also briefed key Western, African and UN diplomats accredited to the AU in the Ethiopian capital including those from the US, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Uganda and Ghana, said Kenya was also walking a delicate balance between securing justice and achieving national healing, reconciliation and integration.
Mr Ping said it was right for Kenya to begin its request for a deferral at the AU even though the request is intended for the UN Security Council pointing out that the ICC cases were as a result of an AU appointed and mediated process.

“The AU Commission will therefore support the request,” he said.
Mr Zenawi on his part lauded Kenya as an important neighbour of his country, saying the two had maintained excellent relations ever since Kenya attained her independence in the 60s.

“We will not hesitate therefore to support a position present by Kenya, not only because we must always come to the aid of our neighbor, but also because we believe that the course the country has taken would be the best under the circumstances,” he added.
The Prime Minister regretted the occurrence of the PEV terming it as a blot in Kenya’s long-running history of stability and helping in the region.
Kenya’s request for the deferral has so far received indications of a positive support from several African countries including, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and the AU.


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