The International Criminal Court has come under heavy criticism over its failure to defer two Kenyan cases in The Hague.
According to UN Ambassador Macharia Kamau, the current request that was filed on Monday, follows on previous attempts by Kenya and other signatories of the ICC treaty “to try to have reason prevail at the ICC.”
During an interview with the Nation on Tuesday, the envoy said the pleas to the court “are now recognised as having been rational and proportional to the challenge that Kenya faces.”
He reiterated that by rejecting these initiatives, the ICC “has proven itself to be inflexible and tone deaf and thus unable to accommodate the challenges that a member state is facing, specifically in the context of the Kenya cases.”
EXCUSED FROM TRIAL
Kenya has successfully swayed world opinion on the issue of allowing President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to remain in Kenya during parts of the proceedings in The Hague, Ambassador Kamau noted.
Last week, the ICC excused President Uhuru Kenyatta from continuously attending his trial proceedings at The Hague.
On Friday, the Hague-based court will rule on whether to allow a similar request by Deputy President William Ruto.
However, Ambassador Kamau said continuous presence during the proceedings “is now universally recognised as counterproductive, onerous and untenable.”
“Not even the procedural moralists in the Assembly of State Parties [the grouping of ICC member countries] support the continuous presence of the leaders at the court anymore,” he said.
There is only a single request for deferral and if granted, it “would have comprehensive effect on all the cases related to Kenya,” the Ambassador said.
“Suggesting otherwise is pure conjecture and or politics,” he added.
The African Union’s resolution that sitting African Presidents be exempt also received backing.
“For the Security Council, facing up to one country is one thing; facing up to an entire continent is a completely different proposition,” he said.
He noted that the African Union has directed Kenya to present a request for deferral on its behalf.
The Ambassador noted that postponing the case for one year would give “all other interested parties time to re-evaluate the process of the cases in the context of the Kenya situation.”
A deferral would further ensure that the interests of “peace and security in Kenya as well as in neighbouring countries are indeed secured”, he added.
The Security Council is able to grant a deferral of ICC cases only if its member states agree, in accordance with the UN Charter, that such an action is needed to “maintain or restore international peace and security.”