Kenya ‘needs to fight terror now’
Posted Tuesday, October 29 2013 at 02:00
New York- The case against Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, Mr William Ruto, should be put on hold so that the two leaders focus on leading the fight against international terrorism, the African Union has told the UN Security Council.
They should also be freed to participate in easing ethnic tensions in the country, which pose a threat to internal security, the AU argues.
In its 20-page letter to the Security Council, the AU describes terrorism as a threat to regional stability.
The regional body has brought unprecedented pressure to bear on the Security Council to order a deferral on the crimes against humanity cases facing the President and his deputy.
An appeals chamber at the ICC last week ruled that Mr Ruto should not be excused from attending court.
The prosecutor, Ms Fatou Bensouda, has appealed a decision excusing Mr Kenyatta from some sessions.
In the letter submitted to the council last week, the AU also said Kenya had undertaken significant reforms in its courts and the police since the 2007/2008 post-election violence and the gains made in national healing and reconciliation could be undone if the cases facing Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are not deferred.
The letter also said President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto have been leading peace and reconciliation initiatives in the country under the 2010 Constitution.
“Kenyans democratically elected their leaders in March 2013 and they expect that their leaders will discharge their constitutional responsibilities as elected executive leaders of the Republic of Kenya. This, if not considered, will be adversely impacted by the process at The Hague and thus, will undermine progress as well as threaten Kenya’s peace and stability,” the 49 African states whose representatives signed the letter, said.
The UN Security Council President for the month of October, Azerbaijani’s Agshin Mehdiyev was handed the AU letter by Kenya’s ambassador to the UN, Mr Macharia Kamau, on October 21.
The letter was drafted as a follow-up to the Extra-Ordinary AU Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday last week.
During the Addis summit, the African countries present told Mr Kenyatta not to attend his trial, which opens on November 12 in The Hague. They said they would make a major statement on that day if the UN Security Council fails to defer the Kenya cases.
Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are facing crimes against humanity in connection with the 2007/2008 post-election violence.
Push for deferral
Make case. This week, seven African ministers are set to meet the UN Security Council to push for the deferral of the Kenya cases. They will be led by the chairman of the AU Council of ministers, Dr Tedros Adhanom of Ethiopia.The meeting, which was to be held in New York Sunday, will now be held on Thursday.
All options. Kenya Attorney-General Githu Muigai said the country will use all the options available to her should the AU request for a deferral be defeated. “We expect to reach a reasonable agreement with the UN Security Council and the ICC on this matter. However, Kenya reserves her right to all options available to her,” he said.