Kenya ‘frustrated’ by ASP talks

Kenya has expressed frustration with the Assembly of State Parties talks in The Hague that have a bearing on Deputy President William Ruto’s ICC case.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed Thursday registered strong objections to the ‘lack’ of genuine commitment to address Kenya’s concerns.
She said on Twitter: “I indicated that Kenya would have no option in the circumstances other than contemplate withdrawal.”
By Thursday evening (Kenyan time) the talks had been referred at least twice, to the ASP Bureau for further negotiations after the Nairobi delegation threatened Kenya would pull out of the Rome Statute altogether, if it did not get a favourable ruling.
Should the ASP Bureau talks, chaired by Senegal’s Justice minister Sidiki Kaba fail, the attempt by Kenyan delegation to have the application of Rule 68 on the case facing Mr Ruto would be left to the ICC judges, where his lawyers have appealed.
The desired fruits
Kenya’s intense lobbying at the ASP World Forum appeared not to have yielded the desired fruits, despite a large delegation, including politicians and government officials said to have cost the taxpayers millions of shillings in airfare and accommodation at the Dutch Capital.
Kenya wants to convince the meeting — which makes laws for the International Criminal Court — that it was wrong for the court to use Rule 68, which permits Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to use the evidence of witnesses who have disowned their testimony.
It argues that the rule was being applied retroactively in the case against Mr Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang’.
Peace and security
The government argues that the rule was adopted well after the Kenyan cases started.
The Kenyan delegation was also arguing that there was a clear understanding when the rule was passed that it would not apply to ongoing cases.
ICC President Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi and Ms Bensouda have warned that interference with the independence of the ICC could be detrimental to the fight against war crimes.
They have urged the meeting to adopt decisions that would uphold peace and security.
Also massed against the government is a group of NGOs, which were lobbying the meeting against allowing politics to erode the independence of the court.