, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 4 – The Attorney General has three days within which to file a response to the petition seeking to bar President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto from attending their trials at The Hague.
Justice Weldon Korir also directed that he would hear the petition on Monday – just a day before Deputy President William Ruto’s trial is set to begin at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
He gave the order on Wednesday following an inter-partes hearing that determined the issues raised by the petitioner, the National Conservative Forum.
The lobby argues that allowing President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto to attend their trials at The Hague before their terms in office are up, would create a constitutional crisis.
It explains that the Constitution only allows the two to leave the country on an official capacity and wants the High Court to issue an order to that effect.
On hearing the ex-parte application on Tuesday, Justice Korir certified it as urgent and ordered that the Attorney General Githu Muigai be served with the petition.
The petition comes at a time when parliamentarians allied to the ruling coalition are pushing to have Kenya pull out as a party to the Rome Statute.
The lobby further contends that implementation of the Statute was not proper since it was not properly adopted following its ratification in 2005.
The Leader of the Majority in the Upper House Kithure Kindiki however took issue with Kenya’s membership to the International Criminal Court given the country’s own autonomous Judiciary.
“Going forward we will never have a citizen of our country being paraded in a foreign court as if we do not have a Judiciary,” he said on Tuesday.
Given the sentiment of this section of Jubilee MPs, Deputy National Assembly Speaker Joyce Laboso has recalled members of the Lower House from their recess for a special sitting to debate Kenya’s exit from the ICC.
“It is notified that a special sitting of the assembly shall be held in the National Assembly Chamber in the Main Parliament Buildings, Nairobi on Thursday, September 5, at 2.30pm,” Laboso’s gazette notice reads.
Opposition-allied lawmakers have however made it known that they do not support the move to disassociate Kenya from the ICC and have even termed it a futile attempt to influence the outcome of the Kenyan cases.
A vote for Kenya to exit the ICC would not affect cases already before the court.