Kenyan MPs on Wednesday night rallied behind a motion to withdraw Kenya from the Rome Statute. The MPs fully supported the motion by Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto for Kenya to cease being a signatory to the statute, which creates the International Criminal Court. Only Gichugu MP Martha Karua disagreed.
And during debate, the MPs poured vitriol on the ICC and its chief prosecutor, Mr Luis Moreno Ocampo, and expressed solidarity with the six people he has named as suspects in the post-election violence. They resolved that cases arising from the chaos be handled by local judicial systems.
No trial on foreign land
The motion had been thrown out on Tuesday by Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim for violating the constitution. However, Mr Ruto amended it to suit constitutional requirements and after giving notice to the House yesterday, it was placed for debate.
Supporting the motion, Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi dismissed the ICC as a colonial imperialist court. “It is only Africans from former colonies who are being tried at the ICC. No American or British will be tried there and we should not willingly allow ourselves to return to colonialism,’’ he said.
“The fears that we had when we were introducing the international criminal justice system are no longer there. There is nothing we cannot handle. As a sovereign state, no other Kenyan will be tried on foreign land. Let the six go, but we have now learnt our lessons.’’
And he defended Head of the Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura, whose name was among those in the Ocampo list saying: “I cannot imagine somebody like Ambassador Mutthaura raping anyone.’’
Ms Karua was the lone voice against the motion, which she described as unfortunate and misguided and pleaded with MPs to think about the interests of poll violence victims.
The Narc Kenya leader challenged President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to accept responsibility for failing to support the establishment of a local tribunal.
“The ICC did not come to us. We beckoned it. It is here by virtue of invitation by none other than the two principals and by extension Parliament,’’ she said.
“If Kenyans were wondering about impunity, this is the face of impunity,’’ she added, saying victims of the violence would be the greatest beneficiary of the ICC process.
Assistant minister Kabando wa Kabando supported the motion defending Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta who has also been named and said “he is now suffering’’ for helping mobilizing resources for victims of the violence.
Seconding, Mr Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa) asked: “Are we surrendering our sovereighnity to foreigners?’’
Trade minister Chirau Mwakwere asked the rest of Africa to follow Kenya’s example and withdraw from the Hague. He was ashamed, he said, to have been the one to sign the Rome Statute in 2005 on behalf of the government, as Foreign Minister.