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Canadian envoy warns on Kenya's ICC pull-out bid

Canadian High Commissioner David Angell. He faulted MPs move to have Kenya withdraw from the Rome Statute.  PHOTO/PHOEBE OKALL
Canadian High Commissioner David Angell. He faulted MPs move to have Kenya withdraw from the Rome Statute. PHOTO/PHOEBE OKALL 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

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A diplomat has warned that the move last week by law makers to have Kenya pull out of the Rome Statute could jeopardise future search for international justice for Kenyans.

Canadian High Commissioner in Nairobi David Angell said pulling out of the Rome Statute, that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), would deal a blow to any future victims of violence that Kenyan judicial system would not handle.

“Citizens should have the same access to international justice just as what citizens of any other country have. The International Criminal Court is a Kenyans’ court,” he said on Monday evening in Nairobi.

“Our position to the Kenyan government is that accountability is important and responding to impunity is important. Part of the international justice involves looking at the interests of the victims. Dealing with any sort of concerns for the victims that gives rise to a judicial process is very important,” he said.

Last week on Thursday, MPs were recalled for a special session where they passed a motion to withdraw Kenya from the Rome Statute in move widely seen as a reaction to the cases facing President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto at the ICC in The Hague.

If it goes through, Kenya would become the first state party to pull out of the treaty created in 1999 and amended in 2010. But the cases already before the ICC would not be affected and Kenya would be required to continue with obligations contained in the Statute.

The envoy who was speaking after the launch of a book on ethnicity and nationhood in the country said Kenya, as any other country, has a duty to protect its citizens and entering international treaties was part of guarantee to protect those rights.

“Any country that is a signatory to the Rome Statute has obligations. We are very pleased that the defendants have reaffirmed their intention to cooperate with the court,” he said.

Mr Ruto and his co-accused Joshua Sang trial started early on Tuesday at The Hague. He formally pleaded not guilty to charges of three counts of crimes against humanity for allegedly organising 2007-2008 post-election skirmishes.

President Kenyatta faces five charges of crimes against humanity, murder, rape, persecution and deportation. He would become the first sitting Head of State to be tried at the court when his case begins on November 12 this year.


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