, THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Nov 19 – Kenya was on Thursday lobbying intensely for support ahead of Friday’s plenary session, where its agenda on the application of the amended Rule 68 and an audit of the International Criminal Court (ICC) witnesses sourcing will be debated.
House Majority Leader Aden Duale presented Kenya’s overall agenda to the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) President Sidika Kaba, while emphasising the need to have the issue discussed.
“All we have come to ask is clarification of the understanding of Rule 68. We want to deliberate this matter in good faith,” Duale said, adding: “Kenya has cooperated with the ICC for the last five years and it’s her expectation that she will be heard when it raises concerns.”
He was accompanied to the meeting by MPs Samwel Chepkonga (Ainabkoi) and David Pkosing of Pokot South who explained to Kaba about the petition signed by 190 MPs seeking the termination of the case against DP William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang, as well as an audit of witness sourcing.
“Credible allegations have been made by people some of whom are Members of Parliament that they procured and coached witnesses to give false testimony against Ruto and Sang. That’s why we want an audit to ascertain these serious allegations,” Pkosing told the president.
Kenya wants the member states to discuss application of the controversial amendment to Rule 68 which allows use of prior recorded statements of ICC witnesses.
The amendment to Rule 68 was adopted during the 12th session of the ASP in 2013 which has so far worked to the advantage of the prosecution.
In response, Kaba acknowledged Kenya’s concerns and promised to ensure the issues raised are deliberated comprehensively during the plenary session set for Friday.
“I have heard you and be assured you will be heard since I will be chairing the session handling this matter,” he said.
Kenya is opposed to the use of the controversial Rule 68 in the case against Ruto and Sang, with Chepkonga saying “it was made clear the amended rule would not be used retroactively and to detriment of the accused. That’s how it should be in law.”
As part of lobbying. Kenyan ministers Amina Mohamed and Rachael Omamo met ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda during a session with other ministers from Africa.
During the meeting Omamo implored the prosecutor to understand Africa’s concerns that she said held the key to the future existence of the court.
“We want to be respected because we have a stake as member states,” she said.
Bensouda allayed fears that the court was targeting Africa saying what the ICC was doing was to end the culture of impunity around the world. “I am no less a pan Africanist, “she said.
The relationship between African states and the ICC has not been the best with allegations that the court applies selective justice when it comes to African situations.
However, efforts are being made to iron out differences between Africa and The Hague based court on the sidelines of the ASP.