NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 10 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has made it clear it had no interest whatsoever in who became Kenya’s president in last month’s elections.
ICC Outreach Coordinator Maria Kamara told Capital FM News that the court is a judicial system that is purely apolitical.
“The ICC has continuously ensured that it does not seek to have any influence in the political sphere. For example, the court, before, during and after the Kenyan elections, has regularly declared that such elections are a matter for the Kenyan people only, and that the ICC role is purely judicial and does not interfere with the Kenyan people’s choices,” she explained.
During Tuesday’s swearing-in of President Uhuru Kenyatta who is facing charges at the ICC, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni praised Kenyans for ‘rejecting ICC blackmail’ by electing Kenyatta and his deputy and co-accused, William Ruto.
Kamara said the court was not interested in the outcome of the Kenyan election but would continue pursuing the two cases facing President Kenyatta, Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang.
She explained that the Rome Statute does not offer immunity to anyone hence it will not drop any of the cases but will follow the due court procedure.
“As Kenya is a State party to the Statute governing the Court, Kenya has the obligation to cooperate with the ICC and to accept its legal framework. This includes the provision that official capacities, including the capacity as a Head of state, are irrelevant for the ICC and do not offer any immunity. Thus, the ICC proceedings must continue as ordered by the ICCC Judges, irrelevant of the Kenyan elections’ results. There is a clear and total independence between the political developments and the ICC judicial decisions,” Kamara explained.
She said the interest of the court was to defend justice through the court process by respecting the rights of the suspects and the victims as she re-affirmed the court’s commitment to a fair trial.
Even though Museveni accused the ICC of being a political court, Kamara identified Uganda as one of the African countries that have been at the forefront in giving The Hague-based court cooperation.
She cited the voluntary referral by Uganda of the Joseph Kony case to the ICC in 2004 and even acceptance to host the 2010 Review Conference of the Rome Statute in Kampala.
“The ICC does not have a police force to execute outstanding warrants of arrest. However, it has had cooperation from Uganda and other States in their efforts to bring Joseph Kony, Dominic Ongwen, Okot Odhiambo, and Vincent Otti to face justice for crimes allegedly committed in Uganda,” Kamara asserted.