African nations press UN Council to suspend Kenya case
31 October 2013, 22:47
United Nations - African countries will put forward a UN Security Council resolution seeking a suspension of International Criminal Court (ICC) charges against Kenyan leaders, officials said Thursday.
An African ministerial delegation met with Security Council ambassadors on Thursday to press the case to defer charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto.
The council is divided on the request and gave no firm answer.
But the meeting went ahead as the ICC postponed the start of Kenyatta's trial until February. The Kenyan president is accused of masterminding political violence in 2007-08 in which more than 1,000 people died.
The African delegation -- with foreign ministers from Kenya, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Senegal, Namibia and Uganda -- called on the council to use its powers to suspend the case for a year.
Instability in the Horn of Africa, with Kenya playing a key role in efforts to combat Somalian Islamist rebels, was used to justify the call for deferral, said Ethiopia's Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom.
He said African members on the Security Council, led by Rwanda, would table the resolution "very soon."
African nations at the UN were to meet later Friday to discuss the resolution, which a Rwandan mission spokesman said was ready.
The ministers sought a deferral because the Somalia strife and tensions between Sudan and South Sudan are "a serious threat to international peace and security, in addition to our region. And we should prevent any havoc from happening in Kenya, because we don't need another destabilized country in that part of the world," Adhanom told reporters after what he called a "very candid" meeting with Security Council envoys.