NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 12 – Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has renewed his onslaught on the International Criminal Court after the case against Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta was withdrawn.
Speaking during Kenya’s 51st Jamhuri Day celebrations in Nairobi, Museveni said he will file a motion during the next African Union Summit for African states to withdraw their membership from the Rome Statute which establishes the court.
“I will bring a motion to the next sitting of the AU to have all African States withdraw from the court then they can be left alone with their own court. They have used it as a tool to target Africa,” he said.
According to Museveni, the ICC has been used to frustrate African leaders in the name of fighting for justice.
He said whereas he advocates for accountability for crimes, the ICC should not use it as a scapegoat to target African states.
Museveni regretted that the court ignored an African Union plea to delay the trial against Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto until they finish serving their terms.
“The ICC has been undermining African states. We told them to wait to try Kenyatta and Ruto after they finish serving their terms, they refused. Now see, charges against Kenyatta have been withdrawn,” he said.
Museveni said the court should also drop charges against Ruto to allow him perform his duties without interruptions by the court.
In March 2011, several African countries indicated they were ready to withdraw their membership from the court
However, they were criticised for wanting to pull out of the Rome Statute and also undermining the legal process that member states have to follow to be allowed to pull out.
Kenya also passed a motion in Parliament seeking to withdraw it from the Rome Statute.
However, Kenya and many other African States abandoned the push and had pledged cooperation with the court.
Meanwhile, President Kenyatta says Kenyan cases before the ICC will not give victims of post election violence justice or help citizens live cohesively.
The Head of State complained that the ICC was pushing the Kenyan cases to achieve external interests.
“The ICC is a real threat to our country’s hope for reconciliation and lasting national stability. It offers no clear promise of justice for the victims of the post election violence which traumatised this country,” he said.
Ruto said charges against Kenyatta were dropped by the prosecution because he is innocent and not due to lack of evidence as alleged by the ICC.
“We thank God and we thank all Kenyans for praying for the president and us all. The case against the president failed not because there were no witnesses or the Government of Kenya failed to give evidence, but the case in The Hague failed because our president is innocent,” Ruto said.
When ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda withdrew charges against President Kenyatta, she accused the Government of Kenya of failing to give her evidence she required.
She also said her witnesses had been intimidated and gave it as a reason that had weakened her case against President Kenyatta.