Bill to exit Rome Statute due in Parliament

October 10, 2013 4:38 pm
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Leader of the Majority Coalition in the National Assembly Aden Duale vowed to push on with the Bill that seeks to repeal the International Crimes Act/FILE
Leader of the Majority Coalition in the National Assembly Aden Duale vowed to push on with the Bill that seeks to repeal the International Crimes Act/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 10 – A proposed law that seeks the withdrawal of Kenya’s membership from the Rome Statute which establishes the International Criminal Court will be introduced in the National Assembly next week.

Leader of the Majority Coalition in the National Assembly Aden Duale vowed to push on with the Bill that seeks to repeal the International Crimes Act, to end the country’s pact with ICC.

Duale repeated the stand that has now been adopted by the African Union that the ICC is meant to punish Africans, as it has not prosecuted perpetrators of atrocities in other countries where thousands have been killed.

“This is a very unfair approach and we need to ask the following questions; is it about skin colour, is it about race, what scale does the ICC use to weigh crimes against humanity to pursue and which to let go,” Duale posed.

He said the resolutions of Saturday’s African Union Extra Ordinary Meeting will have no effect on parliamentarians’ push to pass the Bill.

“If other African countries decide to do the same in their summit in Addis, that is within their right as countries and within the Rome Statute. They won’t and they don’t need to seek the permission of anybody including Kofi Annan, who in our opinion left his country of origin, Ghana, 35 years ago,” said Duale.

The 54-member African Union is due to meet from Friday to debate a possible withdrawal from the International Criminal Court over claims it targets Africa and has specifically demanded that the war crimes court drop the proceedings against Kenya’s top leaders.

Duale added that African states do not need permission from anybody including former UN chief Annan to withdraw from the ICC.

“In any case, the Rome Statute is not a pact with Allah. It was done by men and women and can only be undone by the same men and women. We are up to the task. The leaders of African states are up to the task.”

But CORD MPs later in the afternoon, convened a news conference to urge President Uhuru Kenyatta to co-operate with the ICC.

Eight MPs led by Suna East MP Junet Mohammed vowed to lobby MPs to ensure the Duale’s Bill fails.

“This is not a government sponsored Bill, it’s brought by people who are eager to please the President and his Deputy. We are asking Duale not to bring the Bill to Parliament. It is of no good.”

They also urged African states against endorsing a mass pullout from the Rome Statute.

“The decision on how ICC will go depends on the members states who ratified the Rome Statute and not the 54 states in the AU. We see this move is almost meant to blackmail, it’s not meant to achieve any legal reason,” David Ochieng (Ugenya) added.

Meanwhile, the Leader of Majority in the National Assembly has said the government will not allow any Kenyan to be tried in a foreign country.

Duale gave assurance that Kenya is a sovereign country which will not send Kenyans, including former journalist Walter Barasa to a foreign country.

“We are saying (that) never in the history of Kenya shall we allow any of our citizens, whether it’s a President or a Deputy President or an ordinary citizen including the journalist Barasa to be tried by a foreign court,” said Duale.

He said Kenya has a robust Judiciary, a strong Constitution, the best Bill of Rights and they wouldn’t allow anybody else to interfere with Kenyans.

Deputy President William Ruto and Journalist Joshua arap Sang’s trial is currently underway in The Hague where they are facing crimes against humanity charges.

President Kenyatta who also faces similar charges is set to stand trial in the same court on November 12.

On Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed said it will be a complicated affair for the President to face trial while in office because it has never happened world over.

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