NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 14 – Kenya is now banking on the UN Security Council to heed an African Union call to defer the International Criminal Court (ICC) case against President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed says the country hopes the UN Security Council and the ICC will respect Kenya’s sovereignty and the need to give its leaders time to perform their duties.
“The reaction has been positive; we are comforted by the reaction,” she said while responding to a question on reports that some Western diplomats had already joined the call for a deferral of the case.
During a special AU summit at the weekend, African States reached a resolution that no charges should be commenced or continued before any international court or tribunal against any serving Head of State or anybody acting or entitled to act in such capacity during their term in office.
“We have been waiting for this reaction for a long time. We are appeased by the outcome,” she added.
She said as a member of the international community, Kenya was optimistic “that the African Union request will be positively considered.”
She applauded the African Union for its solidarity and unity in asking for deferral of the case.
“We were extremely humbled to have witnessed an Africa that is rising; in one accord, both the summit and the council stood with Kenya on the key question of the day,” she said.
“Unanimously the council and the summit recognised very clearly that a sitting president democratically elected and with a clear mandate from the people must govern.”
She added; “Kenyans and Africa expected that to happen to the President’s case.”
The African Union has categorically stated that the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Security Council must give the Kenyan presidency space to carry out its national obligations, in view of the charges that both President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto face at The Hague-based court.
AU Chairman Hailemariam Desalegn – who is the Ethiopian Prime Minister – said on Saturday that the two institutions must stop distracting the Kenyan leaders from their duties by forcing them to attend their trials at The Hague, instead of having them deferred.
On the issue of Journalist Joshua arap Sang, Kenya’s Foreign Secretary said his case was personal and cannot be subject of discussion at the African Union.
“Once you are elected in the office, it stops being personal. The President’s case merits the agenda of AU because he is a sitting Head of State,” she explained.
In regard to the 2007-2008 post election victims, she said that the government was committed to ensure all were resettled and justice delivered.
“It may not be an overnight thing but the government is going to ensure we address issue of concerns to the victims,” she assured.
Mohamed revealed that the continent confirmed its intention to ensure that the Rome Statute, which the majority of its members are party to, is modified by the Assembly of State Parties beginning November, to respond to the aspirations of its largest constituency as a court of last resort of the highest possible standards and standing.
President Kenyatta’s ICC trial is due to begin on November 12.