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Kalonzo stands by ICC shuttle diplomacy

NAIROBI, Feb 8 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has strongly defended his recent diplomacy across Africa where he was lobbying support for Kenya in seeking a deferral from the United Nations Security Council, of the case against six Kenyans at The Hague.

Mr Musyoka told Parliament on Tuesday that the government had opted to lobby for the support of the African Union to have the cases deferred, because the government is undertaking police and judicial reforms which will enable it try the suspects locally.

He also maintained that his mission was approved by the Cabinet, contrary to assertions by Prime Minister Raila Odinga who insists the shuttle diplomacy was not sanctioned.

"People will take collective decisions, others will seek to jump out of it depending to the heat of the moment," he said, causing laughter in Parliament.

"I have no difficulty with any member of the coalition who, in trying to gain political mileage or lose some of it would want to do certain things.  I have nothing personal here Mr Speaker. It was a Cabinet decision."

A section of Ministers and politicians allied to the Orange Democratic Movement led by the Prime Minister had accused the Vice President of engaging in shuttle diplomacy that was not approved by the government\’s highest decision-making organ.

Mr Musyoka however told Parliament that the government had decided not to pursue the matter directly with the ICC, a decision supported by several MPs including Kimilili MP Eseli Simiyu.

"That route was not the route we wanted to pursue… and you can never know whether you get back your sovereignty," he said.

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In supporting him, Mr Eseli said "sovereignty is like virginity once it is lost it cannot be recovered, unless you are looking for secondary virginity."

The Rome Statute states that cases before the ICC can only be deferred, or suspended, on a resolution of the United Nations Security Council.

No investigation or prosecution can be commenced or proceeded with for 12 months after the Security Council has requested the court for a deferral.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno- Ocampo in December named Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, suspended Cabinet ministers William Ruto and Henry Kosgey, Public Service head Francis Muthaura, former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali and Kass FM presenter Joshua arap Sang as the people he wants to prosecute for Crimes Against Humanity.

Mr Ocampo wants tough conditions imposed on the suspects including restraining them from meeting, but Mr Kenyatta said on Tuesday, it was impossible to implement the order since some of the suspects still serve in government where they are required to keep all lines of communication open.

Speaking during a talkshow on Kameme FM, Mr Kenyatta said it was not possible for him not to interact with those named in Mr Ocampo\’s list, giving an example of the Head of the Civil Service Ambassador Francis Muthaura, whom he works closely with.

The Vice President at the weekend announced that the government was now focused on engaging some of the permanent members of the UN Security council for support.

"After consultations in government, we will now move to lobby all the permanent members," Mr Musyoka pointed out.

Already, he observed, China and Russia had indicated their willingness to support the Kenyan motion. Brazil and India, influential though non-permanent members of the council have also indicated willingness to support Kenya.

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