Kenya inches closer to pulling out of ICC after Bill gets nod

The threat by Kenya to pull out of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC)ould soon be realised after a parliamentary committee approved the publication of a Bill seeking to repeal the Rome Statute.

The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chaired by Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga gave its nod for the publication of the International Crimes (Repeal) Bill, 2015.

This paves the way for the Bill’s sponsor, Bumula MP Boniface Otsiula, to go ahead and have it published by the Government Printer before it’s formally introduced in the National Assembly for debate.

“The principal object of the Bill is to repeal the International Crimes Act, 2008 in its entirety,” said Mr Otsiula in the proposed law memorandum of objects and reasons.

“The International Crimes Act, 2008 is hereby repealed,” the Bill states in the sole clause.

The draft Bill is in furtherance of an emergency Motion that Jubilee MPs approved in September 2013 to exit the ICC following summons to President Uhuru Kenyatta to appear in court in person to answer to crimes against humanity charges at The Hague.

The Motion was boycotted by the Opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy.

The ICC has since dropped the case facing President Kenyatta but his deputy William Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua Arap Sang are still facing trial.

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ICC Prosecutor Fatuo Bensouda has closed her case against Mr Ruto and Mr Sang and the duo are due to file a “no case to answer” motion.

The charges stem from the violence that followed the declaration of presidential election results in 200708 where former President Mwai Kibaki was declared winner against his closest challenger Raila Odinga.

More than 1,000 people were killed and 650,000 others evicted from their homes.

The ICC had warned in 2013 that the cases facing the suspects would continue even if Kenya pulled out.

If Mr Otsiula’s Bill sails through the Assembly and is assented to by Mr Kenyatta, Kenya will be the first country to withdraw from the ICC.

The approval for the Bill’s publication comes a day after Mr Chepkonga issued a notice of Motion that seeks to establish a 15-member select committee to investigate allegations of skewed and compromised investigations by various State and non-State agencies during the post-election violence.

Mr Chepkonga further wants Parliament to discuss the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the mayhem, popularly known as the Waki Report, that was tabled in the House in 2008 but was never acted upon.

The report has since been admitted as part of the evidence in the case against Mr Ruto and Mr Sang.