UN council rejects Kenya's deferral bid

A past session of the United Nations Security Council. Kenya’s bid for the suspension of International Criminal Court action against the Ocampo Six has flopped following a rejection of the plea by key Council members March 18, 2011. FILE

Kenya’s bid for the suspension of International Criminal Court action against the Ocampo Six has flopped following a rejection of the plea by key UN Security Council members.

An informal meeting between Kenyan envoys and members of the council on Friday yielded no breakthrough for Kenyan officials. UN Security Council members including permanent members US, Britain and France said they would reject the request.

A veto by any of the three countries  would be enough to doom the mission, championed by President Kibaki’s allies, for a deferral of ICC action.

The Reuters news agency quoted French ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud saying Kenya stood no chance for success when asked if the Security Council might accept the request.

"No, I don’t think so. The conditions of the implementation of Article 16 are not fulfilled."

Article 16 of the Rome Statute, which set up the ICC, allows the Security Council to suspend the court’s proceedings if prosecutions at The Hague would constitute a threat to international peace and security.

"Every council member has told them individually that their request will be rejected," a council diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

"One point of today's (Friday) meeting was for the council to collectively make that clear to the Kenyans."

However, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said the UNSC has not rejected the deferral request.

Mr Musyoka said that Kenya has not yet had a formal deliberation with the UN body but had only sought for an informal meeting which will not provide a final verdict until a formal meeting is held.

He, however, added that Kenya had a broad based approach to the ICC matter where besides the request to the UN, the Attorney General can invoke article 19 of the Rome statute.

The VP maintained that the government is committed to eradicating impunity in the Kenyan society and ensures justice for all its citizens alongside national healing and reconciliation.

“The ghost of impunity has to be slain so that Kenya can reclaim her rightful place as a respected nation,” he added.

On ICC, the Vice President reiterated that Kenya is not in the class of failed states and has the capacity to deal with cases concerning the post election mayhem.

Mr Musyoka asked the media to be patriotic and report fairly on matters of ICC and post election suspects.

He defended his recent quest for deferral of the Kenyan case at the ICC, saying it was not intended to shield the suspects from prosecution, but was aimed at securing adequate time to establish a local mechanism to have all suspects tried locally and ensure justice for both perpetrators and victims of post election chaos.

The VP was speaking at St. Joseph Seminary in Mwingi town during a fund raiser towards reconstruction of the institution that was burnt down late last year.

The rejection by the Security Council will come as a setback to government, which has been on a shuttle diplomacy led by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, to lobby the UNSC to postpone The Hague trials.

In December, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno- Ocampo named Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta, head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, Postmaster General Hussein Ali, MPs William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang as the men bearing the greatest responsibility for the post election violence that killed 1,133 and 650,000 uprooted from their homes.

The Ocampo Six have been summoned to make an initial appearance on April 7 and 8. They have indicated readiness to obey the summonses.

The six are separately charged with murder, rape, deportation, torture and other inhumane acts.


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