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Kenya deferral bid flops at UNSC

NEW YORK, March 19 – The government has failed to get the support of the United Nations Security Council to force the ICC to defer the prosecutions of six Kenyans at The Hague.

The French envoy at the UN Gerard Araud told reporters after a three hour interactive dialogue meeting in New York that started at 3pm (10pm Kenyan time) that "the conditions of the implementation of Article 16 are not fulfilled."

He was referring to Article 16 of the Rome Statute that established the ICC, which allows the UNSC to issue a one-year suspension if there is a threat to international peace and security.

Other diplomats elaborated by saying that the situation in Kenya does not constitute a threat to international peace and security warranting the intervention.

Mr Araud suggested that the government should seek to challenge the ICC\’s jurisdiction and the admissibility of the case in line with Article 19 of the Rome Statute.

France is a veto wielding Permanent Member of the Council.

Sources say that even African countries sitting on the council \’lacked enthusiasm" to endorse Kenya\’s request, despite the African Union resolution in January backing a deferral.

"The dialogue took place after strenuous diplomatic efforts and exposed the deep political cracks in the coalition government as well as the International community on the deferral issue," Kenya\’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations Macharia Kamau told Capital News after the meeting.

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Mr Kamau who has been leading the delegation said: "The matter is now left to the council to decide how it may or may not consider it further."

Sources said while 13 of the 15 member states at the UNSC sent their top or deputy Ambassador, the US and Russia sent lower level diplomats.

The deferral bid has been faced by different challenges from coalition partner Orange Democratic Movement, the civil society and the western countries.

ODM has already written to the UN Security Council opposing the deferral.

The deferral motion on Tuesday suffered another blow after civil society organisations presented 1.4 million signatures against the move, to three permanent members of the Security Council who have always opposed the bid.

The lobbyists made their petition to the American, British and French governments as well as to the non-permanent Council members requesting them to turn down Kenya\’s application, terming it a delaying tactic meant to sway next year\’s elections.

American Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger said the deferral motion would promote impunity, and added that the US would frustrate Kenya\’s appeal.

British High Commissioner to Kenya Rob Macaire further warned the government against using the Security Council as a means to shield itself from criminal responsibility.

The International Criminal Court has issued summonses to the Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura,  Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, and Former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali. Others named by the Prosecutor and now summoned to present themselves at the Hague-based court include suspended Ministers Henry Kosgey and William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang.

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