Kenya's delegation at The Assembly of States Parties (ASP) celebrated what they termed as key amendments to the rules of procedure and evidence regarding the cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.
The ASP adopted amendments to Rule 134 of the rules of procedure which will now allow Uhuru and Ruto not to attend their trials and be represented instead by their lawyers. The Kenyan delegation had been lobbying hard for this amendment. The ASP amended two other rules: Rule 68 which deals with the issue of prior recorded evidence, and Rule 100 has been replaced by a new rule to allow change of venue for the trial.
Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amina Mohammed said the changes had addressed concerns raised by Kenya and the AU. "It was through the spirit of give and take. We are happy that these new rules will help to strengthen operations of the ICC," she told the delegates.
She said the International Criminal Court (ICC) will now have to recognize President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto as leaders and not as mere suspects. "The ICC has been telling us that our president and his deputy are mere suspects at the court and should be treated as such. Not anymore after this amendments," said Mohammed.
Mohammed said the amendments would improve the efficacy of the court. "We have achieved all that we came to achieve," she added.
During the assembly and in break-out meetings held during the meeting, arguments were made that amending the statute goes to the heart of the establishment of the ICC and will leading to entrenching impunity.
Many nations rejected proposals to amend the Rome Statute itself to provide for immunity of heads of state, but Kenya and AU have insisted that they will still push for the amendments.