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Let Kenya tackle issues internally, says SA

06 September 2013, 14:32

Pretoria - South Africa supports the trial of influential Kenyan individuals in their own country, Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said on Friday.

"South Africa's position supports the AU (African Union) position which says if there is domestic capabilities to try them domestically, then that should be the course of action," he said.

"The AU decided that Kenya has primary jurisdiction on the case. Our position will be informed by the approach adopted by the Kenyan authorities and the accused."

Kenyan lawmakers on Thursday backed a motion to pull out of the International Criminal Court, snubbing The Hague-based tribunal ahead of the trial of Vice President William Ruto scheduled for next week.

Parliament must now vote on a bill within 30 days to formalise steps for the actual withdrawal.

On Tuesday, the ICC trial of Ruto opens on three counts of crimes against humanity. He is accused of having organised 2007/08 post-election unrest which killed at least 1100 people and forced more than 600 000 people to flee their homes.

Ruto's case comes roughly two months before President Uhuru Kenyatta goes on trial on charges of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, persecution and deportation.

Both Kenyatta and Ruto have previously stated that they would co-operate with the court.

On Friday, Ebrahim said he was now unsure whether the duo would attend the trials.

"We don't know exactly whether they are going to appear and we are going to just see what actually happens."

Kenya is the first country to hold such a vote to leave the world court



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