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Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania have applied to the ICC to be enjoined in the Kenyan trials as ‘amicus curie’

African UnionThe African Union push gained momentum as three nations sought to be enjoined in the Kenyan trials at the International Criminal Court ( ICC).

Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania have applied to the ICC to be allowed to make submissions on a pending appeal by the prosecution.

They want to make presentations as amicus curie (friends of the court) before the appeal by Bensouda against Ruto’s excusal from the trials is determined.

Reports indicate about 15 African nations have filed similar requests.

The nations argue the requirement that an accused be present throughout the trial should be reviewed in light of present circumstances where sitting government officials are on trial. This, the nations argue, will enhance cooperation by State parties.

This emerged as Jubilee Coalition leaders pressed the United Nations (UN) to champion amendments to the Rome Statute to place checks on the Office of The Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court ( ICC).

Officials of parties under the ruling coalition – The National Alliance and United Republican Party – said that the law establishing the ICC needed serious amendments to tame the prosecutor, who has been given sweeping powers of arrests and investigations.

They complained that, as it is now, the law does not make the court’s prosecutor accountable to anyone, a move that opens a window for the holder to abuse the office.

“We want the UN to revisit the Rome Statute with a view to restructuring the office of the prosecutor so as not to be given a blank cheque to take whoever he or she pleases with total disregard to availability of any substantial evidence that warrants prosecution,” said TNA Secretary General Onyango Oloo.

Office restructured

He added: “Unless the office is restructured and investigations are conducted fully, then no individual, no country and no nation is likely to be treated there impartially or to be accorded justice without fear of favour.”

“We want fresh investigation be conducted by the ICC and not hired non-governmental organisations who have got partisan interests,” said Oloo.

He said they fully supported the African Union (AU) resolutions to call for fresh, free, fair and transparent investigations on the ICC charges against the country’s two top leaders.

Ruto is facing murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population and prosecution charges. Sang is facing similar charges. His trial was, however, moved to Tuesday next week as they await the arrival of the first witness, among the 22 witness lined up by the prosecution.

Similar sentiments were echoed by the Senate in a special session on Tuesday where called for reforms in the same office.

Senate will fast track the preparation of a petition to be filed before the International Criminal Court ( ICC) in a new push to ensure that both President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto are in the country for the country’s Jubilee celebrations.

-The Standard

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