BUCHAREST, Oct 17 – The president of the International Criminal Court said on Thursday it has never targeted any African country, calling such criticism “regrettable”.
“We never chased any African country, we didn’t do anything in this respect, they brought their own situation to us,” Korean judge Sang-Hyun Song told AFP, speaking in English.
His comments were the ICC’s strongest response yet to accusations by made by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta at last week’s African Union summit of “bias and race-hunting at the ICC”.
The African Union has called on the ICC to adjourn the crimes against humanity trials of Kenyatta and Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto.
But Song strongly defended the court, speaking during a conference in Bucharest organised by the Romanian government.
“Dealing with highly sensitive matters of international significance, it seems inevitable that the ICC action raises strong reaction, praise but also criticism. Judges will not take political factors into accounts,” he said.
“The Kenyan parliament voted down twice the idea that was recommended by the international community that they should introduce a special criminal tribunal of their own which will handle these particular tragedies.
“Since they voted down twice, there was no option but the ICC prosecutor’s intervention.”
Kenyatta and Ruto have been charged with crimes against humanity for allegedly masterminding a vicious campaign of ethnic violence that left at least 1,100 dead and more than 600,000 homeless after disputed 2007 elections.
Now allies and elected this year on a platform of national reconciliation, the pair argue the case is violating Kenyan sovereignty and hampering their running of their country.