US ‘cannot ignore’ ICC indictment

Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and William Samoei RutoA State Department official said on Monday that the United States “will look carefully at the actions of Kenya’s leaders and government” in the coming months.

“We cannot ignore the serious charges that have been set out in the ICC indictment, and will calibrate our engagement accordingly,” added Hilary Renner, the department’s spokesperson for African affairs.

Ms Renner’s comments in an e-mail message to the Nation suggest that the Obama administration intends to make good on earlier warnings by its top Africa diplomat of “consequences” that would ensue for US relations with Kenya if certain candidates – understood to be Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto – were elected.

The State Department did not specify how it will “calibrate” US engagement with a Kenya led by a president and vice-president facing trial in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity.

But the department spokeswoman added: “We do not expect to curtail our cooperation with the government and people of Kenya on our mutual priorities.”

Ms Renner also noted, “We acknowledge and respect the sovereign and democratic choices made by the Kenyan people in the March 2013 elections for local and national leadership positions.”

The United States continues to regard Kenya as an important ally, the official emphasised. “Since its independence in 1963,” Ms Renner said, “Kenya has been one of America’s strongest and most enduring partners in Africa, and we will continue to work to ensure that partnership is productive.”

The US “values its relations with the government and people of Kenya,” she said, adding, “We also value the principles of accountability, justice and the rule of law.”

“We continue to emphasise the importance of accountability for the 2007-2008 post-election violence in relation to Kenya’s democracy, peace, and long-term stability,” Ms Renner continued.

“We welcome and wish to underscore the importance of Kenya’s commitment to uphold its international obligations, including those with respect to international justice. We urge the individual defendants and the government of Kenya to live up to commitments of seeking justice for the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence, including by cooperating fully with the ICC process.”-Nation



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