Kenyatta requests ICC trial video link, fueling speculation he may not attend trial

10 Oct

Editor’s Note:

    The person who is accused of committing crimes against humanity is now negotiating for more and more privileges. What is the next thing? He could not be in touch because Nairobi has power failure? We may have reached that time when the accused is the one that would decide how he should be tried and set home free home!

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory

Kenya has requested that the trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta at the International Criminal Court (ICC) be held via video link.

Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said Mr Kenyatta had fully co-operated with the ICC, but the circumstances had changed since he won the presidency in March.

President Kenyatta is accused of crimes against humanity following the country’s 2007 post-election violence.

His trial is set to start in The Hague next month. He denies all charges.

Some 1,200 people died and 600,000 were forced from their homes during the 2007 conflict.

Deputy President William Ruto is also on trial – he is the first senior government official to be tried by the ICC.

No-show?

Kenya’s foreign minister told a news conference on Wednesday: “Are the circumstances different? Absolutely, totally, completely different. Before he wasn’t the head of the state of the republic.

“Today he is the head of state of the republic. It’s going to be the first time that a sovereign head is brought before any court of any kind, not just here but anywhere in the world.”

Ms Mohamed said they were still waiting for a response from the court as to whether the president would be allowed to attend some of the sessions via video link.

The BBC’s Caroline Karobia in Nairobi says this seems to be the strongest indication so far that Mr Kenyatta may not appear at The Hague.

Mr Kenyatta has twice failed to defer – or indefinitely postpone – the case from the world court.

On Saturday, African leaders are scheduled to hold a special meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss their relationship with the ICC.

Although Kenya has passed a motion to pull out of the ICC, Ms Mohamed has denied reports that Kenya was calling on African countries to withdraw from the ICC en masse.

She said it was “quite naive” to think that 34 countries would “come together with the sole aim of moving out of the Rome Statute” that established the ICC.

Source: BBC

==========================================================================================================
 

President Uhuru Kenyatta unlikely to attend ICC trial

by Trevor Analo, Africa Review

Kenya on Wednesday signalled that President Uhuru Kenyatta was unlikely to travel to The Hague to attend his trial at the International Criminal Court where he is charged with crimes against humanity.

Foreign minister Amina Mohammed said President Kenyatta had fully cooperated with the court when he was the country’s deputy prime minister, but his new status as head of state completely changes the circumstances.

“Are the circumstances different? Absolutely, totally, completely different. Before, he wasn’t the head of state of the republic. It is going to be the first time that a sitting head is brought before any court of any time, not just here but anywhere in the world,” Ms Mohammed told a news conference at the steps of the president’s office in Nairobi.

On Saturday, African leaders are expected to hold a special sitting of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss their future relationship with the ICC.

The Kenyan parliament last month passed a motion to pull out of the Rome Statute, but Ms Mohammed has denied reports that the country was lobbying the 34 African members of the ICC to withdraw from the statute en masse.

“I think it’s actually quite naïve to think that 34 countries can come together with the sole aim of moving out of the Rome Statute.

“We have not supported anybody to support a walk out…whether it was a mass walkout, we have never asked for that,” the Foreign minister said.

She added that the countries did not join the statute together and she could not see any reason why they would come together to discuss a possible walk out.

There have been calls within the AU for the continent’s ICC members to pull out in protest against the court’s alleged bias against African leaders.

Counter-terrorism

Kenya has been part of this campaign following the prosecution of President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.

President Kenyatta is scheduled to attend trial next month in the aftermath of the worst terror attack in the country’s recent history.

Analysts have argued the Westgate Mall attack has earned the president a “get out of jail free card” for the ICC.

President Kenyatta has in the past failed to postpone or defer his trials, and the court was yet to rule on his request to attend trial via video link to allow him to attend to matters of state.

According to analysts, the president is now in a much stronger position following the September 21 attack to argue that the country’s vulnerability to terror could be worsened with an absentee leader.

Others have argued that the Westgate attack seems to have thawed President Kenyatta’s relations with Western leaders, who have kept him at an arm’s length because of the charges he faces.

US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron gave President Kenyatta a call during the Westgate crisis to offer their support.

This seemingly enhanced counter-terrorism partnership with the West may blur the impact of international repercussions should President Kenyatta elect not to attend his trial at the Hague.

%d bloggers like this: