, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 30 – The National Council of Churches of Kenya has supported calls to have the Kenyan cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) deferred for a period of one year.
General Secretary Reverend Canon Peter Karanja said this will give Kenya time to institute necessary reforms in its institutions that could convince the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to facilitate the subsequent referral of the cases to Kenya.
“Within the 12 months of deferral, the UNSC should demand the execution of a demonstrable strategic action to complete the reforms in the Judiciary, security agencies and governance.
“There must also be put in place an authentic healing and reconciliation process based on a robust inter and intra ethnic dialogue amongst Kenyan communities,” he said.
Karanja added: “Before the end of the deferral period, mechanisms should be found to determine whether Kenya is capable of bringing to a closure the issues at the ICC or whether the trials should be carried on to the end.”
The council has also opposed the proposed withdrawal from the Rome Statute saying the long term effects of the withdrawal are far reaching.
“The NCCK appreciates the importance of the ICC in the fight against impunity and abuse of political power against the citizens. We therefore advice that both the government of Kenya as well as other African governments pursue reforms of the ICC by State Parties to capture their aspirations rather than undermining it,” he said.
“The UNSC and ICC itself should engage the African Union in the journey towards a redemptive and sustainable outcome on ICC,” he explained.
A deal that would see President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial at the ICC deferred for a year was on October 14 reached by Western diplomats, and is due to be presented to the UN Security Council.
According to the UK-based Telegraph newspaper, the resolution came after an extraordinary summit of the African Union issued an ultimatum to the court to stop the case, warning judges that Kenyatta must not be compelled to face trial.
The resolution by the diplomats is expected to avoid a damaging stand-off between the court and African states over charges faced by Kenyatta of orchestrating the deadly 2007 post-election violence.
A senior European diplomat stated that Kenyatta is not an indicted figure who is defying the court.
“He is not like Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir. He is someone who is working closely with the West in a region in chaos that needs to tackle a very worrying terrorist situation. A solution must be found that avoids a breakdown in relations with Kenyatta or the court’s authority,” he said.
The clergy has also condemned the recent attacks on churches in Mombasa County calling for the perpetrators to be immediately apprehended.
“We take note that this year alone criminal activities in Mombasa have resulted in the killing of two pastors and a number of believers as well as destruction of church properties and facilities.
“Therefore, we demand that the persons behind these attacks be apprehended and be made to face the full force of the law.
“The government must take cognizance of the fact that Kenyans surrendered their right to bear arms on the premise that the government security agencies would secure them,” the statement read.
The clergy also raised concern over the feud between the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and State officials asking the officers to comply with the commission and serve Kenyans before demanding for money.
“We are therefore greatly concerned over the efforts by Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) and Parliament to engage in an unnecessary tussle with the Salaries Commission.
“Elected leaders should remember that Kenyans faithfully elected them to be their servants, and they should not be making these selfish demands. They must not hold the country hostage. We urge all Kenyans to demand that all MCAs go back to work,” it added.
“We also call upon Parliament to stop the drive to mutilate the Constitution by removing themselves from the clauses that define “State officers”. And in the event that Parliament fails to heed this call, we urge the President to refuse to assent to the amendment,” Karanja said in his statement.