Kenya to vote on ICC pullout before trials

Parliamentary deputy speaker Joyce Laboso issued the order for the "special sitting of the assembly" on Tuesday, with Parliament to meet on Thursday.

However, even should Kenya choose to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) – the first country potentially to do so – it would not affect upcoming trials since legal proceedings have already started.

On Tuesday, the ICC trial opens of Vice-President William Ruto on three counts of crimes against humanity for allegedly organising 2007-2008 post-election unrest that killed at least 1 100 people and displaced more than 600 000.

Ruto's trial comes about two months ahead of that of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces five charges of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, persecution, deportation and other inhumane acts.

Lawmakers are expected to debate and vote on a possible departure from the Rome Statute of the ICC, following a request from the senate's majority leader Kithure Kindiki.

"Any law in this country or internationally like the Rome Statute can be repealed and can be amended," said Asman Kamama, one of at least 30 lawmakers supporting Kindiki's petition.

"It is not cast in stone and we want to be the trail blazers in the continent."

The world's worst crimes
The Jubilee Coalition of Kenyatta and Ruto dominate both houses of Kenya's Parliament.

The Hague-based court was set up in 2002 to try the world's worst crimes, and countries voluntarily signed up to join.

Lawmakers will debate a motion on whether to pull out from the ICC, but any actual withdrawal requires the submission of a formal request to the United Nations, a process that would take at least a year.


"Withdrawing from the Rome Statute has no impact on cases already open, it does not affect investigations, proceedings or trials which have already started," ICC spokesperson Fadi El Abdallah said.

Kenyatta's trial opens in the Hague on November 12.

Both Kenyatta and Ruto have said they will cooperate fully with the court. They deny the charges against them.

Radio boss Joshua Arap Sang will stand trial alongside Ruto, also on crimes against humanity charges.

Vote rigging
The 2007 elections were marred by allegations of vote rigging, but what began as political riots quickly turned into ethnic killings and reprisal attacks, plunging Kenya into its worst wave of violence since independence in 1963.

Kenyatta and Ruto were fierce rivals in the 2007 vote, but teamed up together and were elected in March in peaceful polls.

Ruto will be the first senior politician to stand trial for crimes carried out during the violence, with Human Rights Watch this week stressing the importance of the ICC as "a court of last resort". – AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members
Advertising

Press Releases

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

Openview, now powered by two million homes

The future of free-to-air satellite TV is celebrating having two million viewers by giving away two homes worth R2-million

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday