Kenya has to wait for one year to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, the President of the Assembly of the States Parties has said.
Ambassador Tiina Intelmann made the statement as the International Criminal Court began the trial of Kenya's Vice President William Ruto at The Hague in the Netherlands yesterday.
Mr. Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta are accused of orchestrating the 2007 post election violence in Kenya.
The elections were won by ex-President Mwai Kibaki trouncing his closest challenger Raila Odinga.
The Kenyan parliament last week approved a motion to withdraw the country's membership of the International Criminal Court.
"The existence of the ICC is based on international legal instrument that countries are free to join. They are also free to quit. Although I hope that Kenya will not quit the ICC family," Ambassador Intelmann said.
Quoting article 127 of the Rome Statute, Ambassador Intelmann told the media in Uganda's capital Kampala on Tuesday that the withdrawal will take effect a year after a formal notification is made.
"State Party may, by written notification addressed to the Secretary- General of the United Nations, withdraw from this Statute. The withdrawal shall take effect one year after the date of receipt of the notification, unless the notification specifies a later date," reads article 127 of the Statute.
She dismissed allegations that the ICC was selectively targeting particular state players, adding that the court is independent in its dealings.
"The Rome statute is a legal instrument that is available for states to join to guarantee that in the case that national proceedings fail, there will still be accountability for the gravest crime" she said.
The court was established with the main aim of fighting against impunity for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression.
Currently the ICC is handling eight situations that were referred to the court by the states themselves or the United Nations Security Council.
The cases before the court include that of Uganda's LRA rebel commander Joseph Konyi and five of his top commanders. Other cases involve state referrals including the Democratic Republic of Congo Central African Republic, and Mali.
The cases of Libya, Sudan and Ivory Coast were referred to the court by the United Nations Security council.
While the case of Kenya and Ivory Coast are Prosecutor's initiative, authorized by ICC judges.
The court on Tuesday started the trial of Kenyan Vice president and there is an impending trial of the country's new president. William Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta are the first sitting political leaders to see the inside the ICC in history.
The President of the Assembly of the States Parties has just concluded an intensive ten day tour of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo to assess projects of the ICC trust fund of victims of war.
She visited projects in Gulu Northern Uganda, Ituri, Bunia and Kivu in KDRC as well.
There are 110,000 beneficiaries of the ICC Trust fund for victims.
Pieter De Baan the executive director of the fund said they provide limbs to people who have suffered and who otherwise would not be able to generate any income, and give them a chance to work.
"The fund provides rehabilitation and psychological assistance to former child soldiers and women who were raped, so that these people can become fully fledged members of society" De Baan said.
Out of the 122 state parties to the ICC, 34 countries are from Africa. The withdrawal of Kenya will bring the number to 33.