Kenya now vows to challenge ICC cases

March 9, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 9 – The government has now vowed to challenge the admissibility of the cases against six Kenyans at the International Criminal Court over the deadly 2008-post election violence.

A statement issued by three top government officials on Wednesday afternoon said Kenya would also contest the jurisdiction of the ICC in trying the suspects.

"The government will challenge the admissibility of the cases as well as the jurisdiction of the court," the statement signed by Attorney General Amos Wako, Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti and Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo said.

The three said the government had an obligation under the Rome Statute to challenge the admissibility of the cases or the court itself.

"The Rome Statute gives the person for whom the summons have been issued and the State which has jurisdiction over such persons to challenge admissibility of the case or the jurisdiction of the Court," their brief statement stated.

Curiously, the statement was not signed by other members of the Cabinet committee on ICC matters from the ODM wing of the coalition government.  No explanation was given in the statement released from the Office of the President.

The statement came a day after the ICC issued summons for six Kenyans to appear before the pre-trial chamber of the ICC on April 7 to answer charges levelled against them by the ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

A statement posted on the ICC website on Tuesday night said the six suspects had been summoned to appear at The Hague court to show cause why they should not stand trial for their alleged roles in planning the 2008 post election violence which claimed the lives of more than 1,500 people.

The pre-trial chamber judges said in their ruling that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the suspects have a case to answer at The Hague hence should appear before the Court.

Those required to appear at The Hague include Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of the Civil Service Ambassador Francis Muthaura, suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto and Tinderet Member of Parliament Henry Kosgey who stepped aside to face charges of abuse of office.

Others are former Police Commissioner Mohammed Hussein Ali and Radio presenter Joshua arap Sang of Kass FM.

Mr Ruto, Mr Kosgey and Mr arap Sang have been ordered to appear at 0930GMT Kenyan time for the purposes of the hearing to be held pursuant to article 60 of the Statute while Mr Kenyatta, ambassador Muthaura and Hussein Ali will be required to appear at 1430GMT on the same day.

All the suspects have confirmed they will honour the summons.

The ruling was endorsed by Judges Cuno Tarfusser and Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova but was opposed by Judge Hans-Peter Kaul who said that he will be issuing his dissenting decision in due course.

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