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Kenya commits $1mn to ‘unstoppable’ African Court of Justice

UHURU-AUADDIS ABABA, Jan 31 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the establishment of the proposed African court of Justice and Human Rights is now unstoppable and announced Kenya’s commitment of one million dollars (Sh91mn )for the new judicial institution.

He said Africa is poised to establish a broader African transitional justice police framework and an African Court of Justice to handle all criminal cases from Africa currently referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Netherlands.

The Head of State said he has already signed the Malabo Protocol on the African Court before the necessary instruments are transmitted to Parliament for ratification.

President Kenyatta announced this new commitment when he addressed the 24th Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Kenya is among the frontline countries associating themselves with the establishment of the African Court of Justice largely out of its experiences at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The African countries pushing for the creation of a continental court wish to establish an institution that delivers African solutions to African Problems as compared to the ICC which pre-occupies itself with trying to solve African challenges using western standards, perceptions and perspectives.

President Kenyatta described the creation of the African court as urgent.

“I urge you brothers and sisters to join me in ensuring that the necessary ratifications are in place and that the resulting court is fully owned, financed and driven by Africa. This is an urgent and historic task that cannot wait.”

President Kenyatta whose ICC case recently collapsed at The Hague for lack of evidence told the AU delegates that the case facing Deputy President William Ruto is exhibiting the same pattern of weakness as the dropped case against him.

“We look forward to its conclusion so that my Deputy can join me in focusing exclusively on transforming Kenya and serving our people,” said President Kenyatta.

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The Head of State said the ICC as currently constituted poses a grave risk to peace and security not only in Africa, but to the whole world because the court had been heavily politicized.
“Observe closely, and you will see that the court has unfortunately become ever more vulnerable to blatantly politicised designs,” said the President.

He said that with the Kenyan cases came a progressive breaching of the Rome Statute’s critical cornerstones of complementarity, admissibility, threshold and gravity, cornerstones that had previously been negotiated and agreed.

President Kenyatta described the current ICC as a far cry from the expectations and aspirations that Africa had in mind when it formed the decisive block that brought the ICC court into existence.

He recalled warnings from powerful countries that had expressed reservations about the court going down the political path.

“We resisted their warnings in our desire for an international community in which all nations are on a level playing field of justice and accountability.”

He regretted that each one of those reservations have been borne out in the Kenyan cases.

President Kenyatta said it was out of the ICC experience that African Countries have decided to craft appropriate and effective solutions expected from the African Court.

“We have the right to chart our own course and correct our mistakes while staying accountable to our people. This was the burning conviction of our founding fathers, and it remains our cause today,” said President Kenyatta.

President Kenyatta said Africans cannot forever keep waiting for non forthcoming reforms in the Rome Statute when the people in the continent have the power and duty to take their destiny in their own hands.

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“Our continent’s Attorneys General, Justice and Foreign Ministers, and experts have crafted separate but interdependent mechanisms built to be responsive to the realities and needs of this continent,” said the Head of State.

He reiterated that through the ICC, the international judicial system had been manipulated and instead of seeking justice, peace and reconciliation, it ended bringing weak and politicised cases to court.

President Kenyatta regretted that the ICC investigators had ignored all known facts and rules of justice and their Kenyan cases stood on shaky ground from the start, hence the reasons they are collapsing.

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