Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Kenya Signals Possible ICC Withdrawal

Kenya is giving serious thought to withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC). During a public address Monday for Kenya’s Independence day celebrations, the country’s president gave the clearest sign yet it may be headed out of the ICC.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said the government will consider two motions passed by parliament for Kenya’s withdrawal from the court.

He said his decision was influenced by the failure of the ICC to reform in order to respect the national sovereignty of member countries

“Our choices are the basis of how we will steer our country to its destiny as a sovereign state ,” Kenyatta said. “Our founder fought bravely to have the right to make choices free of external influence. Today the world is full of wars driven by the desires of some to exploit the resources of independent nations.”

Kenyatta said the ICC showed a lack of impartiality when it dealt with Kenya and other African nations have recognized the same thing.

He said Kenya has been a champion of global institutions grounded in fairness and respect for national sovereignty as part of its pursuit of a more stable and just world.

“The Kenyan cases at the International Criminal Court have ended, but the experience has given us cause to observe that this institution has become a tool of global power politics and not the justice it was built to dispense,” Kenyatta said.

Kenya is not the first African Country seeking withdrawal from the ICC.

In October, President Pierre Nkurunziza signed legislation calling for Burundi’s withdrawal from the ICC. Burundi’s government says the court is an instrument of powerful countries used to punish leaders who do not comply with the West.

Gambia made a similar announcement under long-serving president Yahya Jammeh, who was defeated in recent elections by Adama Barrow who strongly campaigned on remaining in the ICC.

South Africa also pulled out, saying its obligations were in conflict and inconsistent with its diplomatic immunity legislation.

Kenyatta has in the past been among the most vocal voices calling for African states to stage a mass withdrawal from the ICC.

Although there is an argument the Court has disproportionately focused on African countries, the court has also been increasingly scrutinizing the conduct of Western powers.

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