Kenya presses UN over Hague cases

April 13, 2013 10:37 am
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Grignon said Kenyan courts are capable of handling the cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and former Radio presenter Joshua arap Sang/FILE
Grignon said Kenyan courts are capable of handling the cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and former Radio presenter Joshua arap Sang/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – Kenya’s UN Deputy Ambassador Koki Muli Grignon on Thursday told the United Nations General Assembly that the Kenyan cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) should be referred to courts locally.

Speaking in New York, Grignon said Kenyan courts are capable of handling the cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and former Radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.

The Daily Nation’s correspondent in NY reported that Grignon accused the court of being selective when deciding which countries to investigate.

She also said the court was politically motivated in its working as she urged it to leave the Kenyan cases to the country to handle.

“Kenya strongly objects to the politicisation of the ICC and particularly the office of the prosecutor,” the daily reported.

She said if the ICC continues to pursue the three Kenyans, the process is likely to deter ongoing peace and reconciliation processes in the country especially after the peaceful March 4 General Election. “Punitive vengeance in the name of justice cannot be a means to reconciliation; it instead festers quietly until it explodes.”

The diplomat also accused The Hague-based court of selectively targeting certain countries especially in Africa.

The ICC has always maintained that it is purely a judicial institution not interested in politics or specific countries but is a court determined to uphold human rights and give justice to both victims and even the perpetrators.

Grignon furthermore said the ICC has no business in handling the cases since Kenya did not seek self referral. She believes it is a court of last resort which should only come in when local courts have failed to investigate such charges before the ICC.

In 2009, the government defended its move not to refer the cases of the post-election violence to the ICC saying it was guided by the desire to ‘safeguard’ institutional reforms.

The country also promised to establish a local tribunal to investigate the cases but to date, it has not been set up.

Under the Rome Statute ICC investigations can start if a country seeks a self referral like in the case of Uganda.

The UN Security Council can also refer a country to the court, a case in point being Sudan.

The prosecutor also has powers to investigate a country after approval by ICC Pre-Trial chamber like happened in the Kenyan situation.

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