, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 18 – President Uhuru Kenyatta will continue co-operating with the ICC despite supporting an African Union resolution asking the UN Security Council to defer his case, his political advisor has re-affirmed.
Joshua Kutuny, who is the Director of Political Affairs in Kenyatta’s office, told a news conference that Kenya hopes the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court (ICC) will respect the country’s sovereignty and the need to give its leaders time to perform their duties.
“The United Nations can have their positions but we have our position as a country, and we are a sovereign State and we are governed by the law,” Kutuny said at his Harambee House office.
“We also know that that international law is part of our Constitution and that is why we are very clear that the President will continue cooperating with the ICC.”
Kutuny however was not clear on the level of the co-operation Kenya will extend to the war crimes court, amid pressure on President Kenyatta not attend his trial when it begins on November 12.
“When I talk about cooperation with the ICC it means a lot, but I want to affirm that we will continue co-operating with them because that is a pledge we made when we were campaigning,” The advisor stated.
Deputy President William Ruto said on Wednesday he was committed to his International Criminal Court (ICC) trial, provided he could be excused for one year to focus on national issues.
Ruto confirmed that the government had asked the United Nations Security Council to postpone the cases against him and President Kenyatta at the International Criminal Court.
Moves to get the two Kenya trials at the ICC deferred gained traction after the attack at the Westgate mall in September that left 67 people dead and 300 injured.
Kenyatta and Ruto are charged in two separate cases relating to the violence that rocked Kenya in late 2007 and early 2008. A former broadcaster, Joshua arap Sang, is also charged in Ruto’s case.
The violence followed a disputed presidential poll in December 2007 and resulted in over 1,100 deaths, with 650,000 people forced from their homes.
The court in July ruled that Ruto could be excused from parts of his trial, but suspended that decision a month later after the prosecution appealed. A ruling on the matter is still pending.
An African Union (AU) Summit on October 11-12 called for Kenyatta and Ruto’s trials to be suspended until the two leaders leave office.
The summit also agreed that Kenya should send a letter to the UNSC requesting the deferral, in conformity with Article 16 of the Rome Statute.
Under the ICC’s founding Rome Statute, the Security Council can ask the court to halt a case if doing so is deemed to be in the interests of national or international security. The maximum deferral period allowed is one year, although this can be renewed a year at a time.