Uganda's Museveni praises Kenya for rejecting ICC 'blackmail'

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni congratulated Kenyans Tuesday for voting in Uhuru Kenyatta as Kenya's fourth president in defiance of his looming international trial for crimes against humanity.

"I want to salute the Kenyan voters on...the rejection of the blackmail by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and those who seek to abuse this institution for their own agenda," he said at a speech following Kenyatta's taking of the the oath of office.

Both Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto both face trial at The Hague-based ICC for crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in orchestrating ethnic killings and widespread violence that followed 2007 polls.

More than 1,100 people were murdered and several hundred thousand forced to flee their homes.

Both Kenyatta and Ruto have rejected all charges but have said they will cooperate with the ICC.

"I was one of those that supported the ICC because I abhor impunity," Museveni added, who said he was speaking on behalf of African leaders at Kenyatta's swearing-in ceremony in a crowded football stadium.

"However the usual opiniated and arrogant actors using their careless and shallow analysis have now distorted the purpose of that institution. They are now using it to install leaders of their choice in Africa and eliminate the ones they do not like."

He said the violence in 2007 was "regrettable and must be condemned", but said that a "legalistic process, especially an external one, however cannot address those events".

Top leaders of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, fighting in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, also face trial at the ICC.

But Museveni said that Uganda had referred rebel chief Joseph Kony "to the ICC because he was operating outside of Uganda. Otherwise we would have handled him ourselves."