From FM News, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 12 2010- The International Centre for Transitional Justice says it is unlikely that African Union member states will support the call by Kenya to withdraw from the Rome Statute which establishes the International Criminal Court . The Head of the ICTJ Kenya Office Njonjo Mue ruled out a case of a bloc withdrawal by African countries which form the largest members to the court.

“Although the AU has its issues with the refusal of the ICC to defer the Bashir indictment, African states have not individually said they have a problem, so they will withdraw but it is awaited to be seen what the game plan is,” he told Capital News.

This comes in the wake of reports that the Government has sent ministers to lobby different African countries to support its efforts to have the six Kenyans named by the International Criminal Court tried locally. Only this week, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka met Presidents Jacob Zuma and Yoweri Museveni over the issue and is expected to travel to Malawi with only two weeks left before African Union Heads of State meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for an AU summit.

12 January 2011 VOA News

The campaign to remove Kenya from the International Criminal Court appears to be gathering steam as the east African nation looks to rally diplomatic support across Africa.
Members of Kenya’s cabinet are currently crossing the continent to gain African Union support for withdrawal from the court, the country’s major news outlets are reporting Wednesday.

Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper and Capital FM radio station have reported that Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka is in South Africa Wednesday to discuss withdrawal with President Jacob Zuma. The vice president is expected to visit Uganda on Thursday to push for further support from President Yoweri Museveni.

While news of the government-wide push contradicts past statements by Kenyan leaders, the Director for the Nairobi-based International Center for Policy and Conflict, Ndungu Wainaina, doubts whether the current coalition government ever actually supported the court.

“The war against ICC in Kenya is deeper than what it seems on the face,” said Wainaina. “Despite the various public statements by individual members, individual cabinet ministers and the Prime Minister, we have not seen a collective government position since this new war against the ICC began.”

It has been less than a month since International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced six suspects are to face judges in The Hague for their roles in Kenya’s post-election violence three years ago. The list, which confirmed speculation involving prominent politicians, such as Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and presidential hopeful William Ruto, also contained surprises, like civil servant Francis Muthaura and journalist Joshua arap Sang.

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Foreign Policy


The Guardian Jan 2 2010

UN peacekeepers have been ordered to do everything in their power to investigate reports of atrocities and mass graves in Ivory Coast, where post-election violence is alleged to have left more than 200 people dead.

The instruction came as the opposition leader Alassane Ouattara repeated his call for the international criminal court in The Hague to send a mission to examine the actions of troops loyal to PresidentLaurent Gbagbo.

In a new year’s message Gbagbo made clear he would continue his game of brinkmanship despite pressure from the UN and world leaders for him to avoid a return to civil war by standing down and allow Ouattara to enter office.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, phoned Ouattara yesterday. “The secretary-general told President Ouattara that he was alarmed by the reports of egregious human rights violations,” a UN spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said.

The UN believes up to 80 bodies may have been moved to a building in a pro-Gbagbo neighbourhood in the capital, Abidjan. Investigators have tried to visit several times, and even made it to the front door before truckloads of armed men forced them to leave.

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The Guardian, Afua Hirsch Dec 17 2010

The international criminal court has proved one of the most controversial international institutions since its creation in 2002, drawing fire from some for its exclusive focus on Africa, and accused by others of pursuing the policy objectives of America and Europe.

But America has also been hostile to the court, refusing to join it for fear its own citizens could be put on trial for war crimes. The cables reveal American preoccupation with the personalities in the court and an attempt to discern their views on Iraq from the outset.

One cable, sent in July 2003, three months after Luis Moreno-Ocampo was elected as chief prosecutor, offered an “early glimpse” into his stance and reveals American unease about the possibility that he could pursue cases over British actions in Iraq.

“Less clear are [Ocampo’s] views on Iraq,” the cable states. “Ocampo has said that he was looking at the actions of British forces in Iraq — which … led a British ICTY prosecutor nearly to fall off his chair.”

“Privately, Ocampo has said that he wishes to dispose of Iraq issues (ie. Not to investigate them.)”

The cables also attempt to cast off early remarks about Iraq by Ocampo – who is from Argentina – as a language issue.

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Bloomberg Sarah McGregor and Eric Ombok – Dec 16, 2010

Kenya’s Parliament dismissed a motion to end the East African nation’s obligation to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, which is pursuing cases against six Kenyans for their alleged roles in post-election violence in 2008.

Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Farah Maalim said lawmaker Isaac Ruto didn’t follow proper procedure because he presented the motion for debate rather than a bill. Ruto urged parliament to repeal Kenya’s commitment as a signatory to the Rome Statutes that created the court. The proceedings were broadcast by Kenya Broadcasting Corp., the state-run television station.

The Hague-based court’s Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo yesterday requested that charges of crimes against humanity be filed against Deputy Prime Minister and Finance MinisterUhuru Kenyatta, and lawmaker William Ruto. Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey, Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura, former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali and Joshua Arap Sang, a radio presenter, were also identified as suspects.

“A state shall not be discharged, by reason of its withdrawal, from the obligations arising from this statute while it was a party to the statute, including any financial obligation which may have accrued,” Prime Minister Raila Odinga told lawmakers. Ending cooperation also wouldn’t affect current cases, he said.

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New York Times, Dec 15 2010

AMU, Kenya — The prosecutor of the International Criminal Courtis seeking to indict several high-ranking Kenyan politicians, including the finance minister and a former national police chief, for crimes against humanity in what he calls an orchestrated campaign to displace, torture, persecute and kill civilians during Kenya’s election crisis in 2007 and early 2008.

These are the first serious charges sought against Kenya’s political elite for the violence, and are intended to address one of Africa’s glaring weak spots — disputed elections — which have led to turmoil in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Nigeria and, most recently, Ivory Coast.

“This is a different kind of case,” Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the court’s chief prosecutor, said of the accusations, which were announced Wednesday. “This isn’t about militias. It’s about politicians and political parties. It’s about investigating leadership.”

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Financial Times