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Kenya wants Kenyatta case quashed

24 May 2013, 08:36

New York - Kenya on Thursday got a chilly reception to its appeal to the UN Security Council to "terminate" International Criminal Court cases against the president and deputy president for planning and financing Kenya's 2007-08 postelection violence in which more than 1 000 people died and 600 000 were evicted from their homes.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto are facing trial at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity charges related to the election violence.

Security Council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity after the private briefing, said Rwanda was the only one of the 15 council nations to show much sympathy for Kenya's argument that it should be allowed to work out its own problems, and that the ICC is obsessed with bringing cases against African rulers and politicians.

"We have asked that these proceedings be terminated as soon as possible," Macharia Kamau, Kenya's UN ambassador said. "Clearly they need to end because they are not consistent with peace and justice in our country."

One council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private, said most council members urged Kenya to respect their treaty obligations as a founding member of the ICC and said "you should co-operate fully with the ICC".

ICC cases can take years to prosecute, so it is possible that Kenyatta and Ruto might continue to give minimal cooperation with the court but serve out their terms before a verdict is near.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir on Thursday criticised the International Criminal Court — during a visit by the Kenyan president — saying it is designed to humiliate African leaders, and vowed to never sign the Rome Statute that established the court.

Kenya on Tuesday published a report from its own Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission that formed a wider effort to establish the truth behind historical violations that are partly blamed for the 2007-08 postelection violence.

A 2008 government commission found historical injustices such as unequal land distribution were partly responsible for the violence. The new report reinforced those findings, saying that historical grievances over land constitute the single most important driver of conflicts and ethnic tension in Kenya.

Kenyatta, who received the report late on Tuesday, said the government will take the recommendations seriously. He said that addressing the causes and effects of past injustices will contribute to national unity, reconciliation and healing, and would enable Kenyans to move forward with a renewed sense of nationhood.

- AP


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