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ODM not party to challenging ICC cases

NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 10 – ODM Secretary General Anyang\’ Nyong\’o has dismissed the decision to challenge the International Criminal Court\’s jurisdiction to try the Ocampo Six.

Speaking after chairing his first secretariat meeting since returning from the US where he was undergoing treatment for cancer, Mr Nyong\’o said the move should not be interpreted as the government\’s position, since the Cabinet was not been involved.

"Some two or three ministers spoke, and as a member of Cabinet, I have not received any official position of the government on this issue.  I would take it now, that what was said yesterday was a partial expression of views on some members of government; views which we in the ODM don\’t necessarily support," he said.

Attorney-General Amos Wako, Internal Security Minister Prof George Saitoti and Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo on Wednesday said that the government would challenge the admissibility of the cases against the six Kenyans.

Mr Nyong\’o says ODM would hold its National Executive Council and Parliamentary Group Meeting next Thursday where it would, among other things, come up with the party\’s official position on the ICC cases.

At the same time, Mr Nyong\’o has questioned Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka\’s-led shuttle diplomacy to gain the support of UN Security Council members against the ICC trials claiming that it was a waste of taxpayers\’ funds.

He said his opposition was informed by the recent pronouncement by the ICC to issue summons and the negative positions adopted by three permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (Great Britain, France and the USA).

"It\’s just my personal advice… from somebody who has read international relations; I would advise the VP to pack his bags and come back, because the mission looks increasing unprofitable"

However addressing the media at the Parliament Buildings, PNU leaders defended the decision to challenge the admissibility of the cases saying it was in line with the shuttle diplomacy by Mr Musyoka to push for the suspects to be tried through a local judicial mechanism.

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The VP had held talks with representatives of other Security Council member-states in New York on Monday. He sought their support for a one-year suspension of the International Criminal Court\’s cases against six Kenyans accused of orchestrating the violence following the 2007 elections.

But without US backing, Kenya has no chance of gaining the council\’s approval for the proposed deferral.

The State Department official is reported to have indicated that the US does not agree with the approach being taken by the Kenyan government in hopes of shielding the six from ICC action.

Article 19 of the Rome Statute would enable Kenya to ask the court to halt the cases against the six if Kenya itself moves to prosecute those named in the ICC summonses issued this week.

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