Agencies a headache for Kenya in ICC plea

By: JOHN NGIRACHU

Kenya is set to come up against powerful international organisations that are opposed to its proposals at the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute scheduled to begin on Wednesday in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and International Federation for Human Rights have said they will not back the Kenyan position.

Kenya has two requests to the Assembly of State Parties (ASP).

First, that countries declare the rule allowing the use of recanted evidence by the prosecutor not to be used retroactively.

Second, that an ad hoc mechanism be set up to audit the prosecutor’s system of identifying witnesses in the case against Deputy President William Ruto.

The first request is the government’s, while the second was proposed by Pokot South MP David Pkosing, who has the backing of 190 MPs.

But with opposition from the influential NGOs with expertise and experience in lobbying and mobilisation, Kenya is likely to find itself hard-pressed as government functionaries and MPs seek to convince other delegations.

ASP IS CAPABLE

In their papers, the international NGOs argued that if endorsed, Kenya’s requests would interfere with the independence of the court and end up politicising it.

They also characterised the requests as an attempt to get the state parties to save Mr Ruto and former radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.

Amnesty International said that it “considers that Kenya’s request must be rejected because the issues raised are under consideration by the Appeals Chamber”.

A document prepared by the Kenyan Mission to the United Nations, however, sought to beat back these arguments, saying the country is concerned about the interpretation of the Rome Statute.

“ASP remains the most appropriate to deal with the effects and implications of its decisions at previous meetings and other matters pertaining to the Rome Statute,” said Macharia Kamau, Kenya’s permanent representative to the United Nations.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION