31 January 2016

African Union Backs Uhuru's Call to Withdraw From the Rome Statute

The African Union has adopted, without amendments, a proposal by President Uhuru Kenyatta to develop a roadmap for withdrawal from the Rome Statute.

Speaking during the 26th AU Summit meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Kenyatta said he was disappointed by the way cases brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) were handled.

He said the court had subjected him and Deputy President William Ruto to "cases built with weak investigations and pursued with politicised zeal."

President Kenyatta earlier faced crimes against humanity charges at the court but his case was terminated in March 2015 after prosecutor Fatou Bensouda withdrew the charges against him due lack of sufficient evidence.

Currently, DP Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang facing similar charges at The Hague-based court.


Leaders from western Kenya and Rift Valley regions have been calling on President Kenyatta to intervene in the case facing his deputy and Mr Sang.

In his address at the AU Summit, President Kenyatta said the weaknesses of the two remaining cases were "clear for all to see" and called for their withdrawal.

"The Prosecution seeks for the court to proceed without evaluating evidence. In any criminal justice system, these cases would never have come to trial. It is our expectation that the law will be applied and cases terminated," President Kenyatta said.

He urged African nations to relentlessly strive to reform the ICC.

"It is my sincere hope that our ICC reform agenda will succeed so that we can return to the instrument we signed up for.

"If it does not, I believe its utility for this continent at this moment of global turmoil will be extremely limited. In that eventuality, we will be failing in our duty if we continue to shore up a dysfunction instrument," the President said.

He, at the same time, called for the AU to insist on the termination of the case against DP Ruto which he said had already "collapsed."


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