, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has expressed concern over the new schedule of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which requires both President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto to be at The Hague-based Court at the same time for a whole month.
LSK Chairman Eric Mutua told journalists in Nairobi on Monday that the Court should revise the dates because it was not be a good idea to have them out of the country at the same time.
Mutua argued that the presidency was a symbol of national unity for the country and their leaving would create a leadership vacuum.
“Once they are out of the country for a whole month and they are not engaging the public, that unity for a country disappears and there is bound to be a vacuum,” he said.
“It is in the interests of the country that the trials be undertaken separately.”
He however criticised the Head of State for the remarks made on Sunday in Nairobi insinuating that he and Ruto would not attend the trials if it meant them being away at the same time.
Kenyatta seemed to create conditions for his attendance of the trials.
Mutua explained that the President’s statements over the issue risked creating bad blood between him and the Court and that it might upset the Court.
“When you want to give conditions to a Court you will be starting from the wrong footing. You cannot dictate to a Court as to what would amount to conditions for cooperating. There are consequences for antagonising the Court,” he said.
The LSK and the East Africa Law Society also noted, separately, that the President should have allowed his legal team to communicate his concerns to the Court as opposed to making them in public.
However, Kenyatta said that he did not want his position on the issue to be made behind the scenes and that he needed to make that position known as the President of Kenya.
“Do not make it difficult for us to run the affairs of an independent sovereign nation called Kenya. I will take on my responsibilities and answer to the case but I will not also shirk my responsibilities that I have been given by the people of this Republic. And I say this not under the cover of darkness but in broad daylight,” said Kenyatta.
Mutua further faulted Kenya’s plan to withdraw from the Rome Statute noting that it would send a bad message to the international community and that it would be seen as an attempt by Kenya to shirk her international responsibilities.