, NAROK, Kenya, Oct 18 – Over 100 Jubilee Coalition MPs have dismissed an order by judges of the International Criminal Court against prayer rallies, saying it is unfortunate, unlawful and a violation of values under the Rome Statute and fundamental principles of international law.
In statement read by the coalition leaders at a prayer rally in Suswa, Narok, the MPs termed the directive by The Hague-based court as an attempt to lecture, intimidate and gag Kenyans and their leaders.
“When the court frustrates the establishment and operationalisation of an independent oversight mechanism as provided by Article 112(4) of the Rome Statute to ensure accountability of all its organs, and instead opts to operate opaquely and with impunity, then where does the court find the morality and legitimacy to lecture Kenyans and their leaders?”
“We are shocked that this unwarranted lecture and attempted intimidation by the chamber was orchestrated, prosecuted and determined by the court without an application by any party as would be expected of any judicial institution of any standard,” the leaders said in a statement.
This comes after ICC Trail Chamber Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji warned in a strongly worded statement that they were fully aware of attacks directed at the court especially when major decisions are made.
Osuji said the attacks were made to either support a conviction or acquittal but in the long run ended up undermining the work of the judges and the authority of the court.
He regretted that some commentaries appearing in the media amounted to insults aimed at the court and judges.
The leaders from the ruling coalition said they have always respected the court but were jolted to action by its decision to admit “backdoor evidence recanted by witnesses.”
“We want the ICC to understand that respect is earned. When the court violates basic tenets of international law and its own statute by orchestrating the introduction of rules midway through a trial, then goes ahead to enforce them retrospectively, how do they expect any respect?” posed the Jubilee Coalition MPs.
They further stated that the reaction of the judges showed that they had panicked about Gatundu MP Moses Kuria’s confession on witness coaching.
Kuria stoked the fire when he revealed he was involved in coaching witnesses who were possibly later enlisted by former ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo.
“For the record, on Friday, Kenyan parliamentarians from CORD and Jubilee petitioned both the Assembly of State Parties and the United Nations Security Council to without any further delay set up and operationalise the independent oversight mechanism envisaged in Article 112(4) and to immediately conduct an inquiry into the Kenyan cases and specifically the matters of witness procurement, bribery and coaching that have bedevilled the Kenyan cases from their commencement, and which have recently been corroborated by critical actors,” read the statement by the Jubilee Coalition leaders.
One hundred and eighty seven legislators have signed a petition calling for the case against DP William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang to be halted and witnesses recruitment process investigated.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry received the petition asking the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to institute investigations into alleged procurement and coaching of ICC witnesses.