16 March 2013

Kenya: Uhuru Is Free to Visit Botswana After All

The government of Botswana has clarified that it has no intention of stopping President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta from visiting the southern African nation. However, Botswana's Foreign ministry said in a statement the country will comply with the International Criminal Court's rules.

The clarification follows the furore caused by media statements attributed to Foreign minister Phandu Skelemani warning Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto not to step foot in Botswana if they fail to cooperate with the ICC.

"In the first part of his statement relating to a hypothetical visit to Botswana by Kenya's President-elect, the minister's response was aimed at merely explaining the rules of the ICC and obligations of members of the Court. In this context, he indicated that as can be expected, any member of the Court is bound by its rules. Equally important, is that all members of the Court are obliged to uphold its rules, a principle that impels any member, including Botswana, to act to fulfil its obligations under the rules of the Court," the statement added.

Uhuru and Ruto are due to stand trial at The Hague over crimes against humanity they allegedly contributed to during the 2007-08 post-election violence.

Both have stated that they will continue cooperating with the ICC despite having been recently elected president and deputy president respectively. Skelemani had been quoted in Mmegi, Botswana's leading daily newspaper.

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