China: Security Council should respect AU's pleas on Kenya
13 November 2013, 17:07
Nairobi - China said on Tuesday that the UN Security Council should "fully respect" the concerns of the African countries requesting a deferral of the trials of Kenyan leaders.
Liu Jieyi, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, made the call when briefing the press on the sidelines of the council's closed-door consultations.
The consultation was to discuss a draft resolution co-sponsored by African countries on deferring the International Criminal Court (ICC) proceedings against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto.
The African Union (AU) has asked the UN Security Council to urge the ICC to defer the case against the leaders until they finish their terms.
"To defer the ICC trial is not only the concern of Kenya, but also the concern of all African countries," Liu said. "China fully understands the contingencies behind such a request."
"It is not only a reasonable request by the African Union on the basis of its need to maintain the regional peace and security and counter terrorism, but it is also a unanimous decision by all African countries," he said.
"We believe that such concerns of Africa should be fully respected," Liu added. "After all, the African countries know their continent better than anyone else."
Some African countries have threatened to pull out of the ICC, accusing the tribunal of unfairly targeting Africans, including Kenyatta and Ruto, who are charged with crimes against humanity, including murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population, and persecution during Kenya's 2007-2008 post-election violence. Both deny the charges.
Under the Roman Statute, an international treaty which establishes the ICC, the Security Council has the right to defer cases.
The closed council meeting was chaired by Liu, who holds the rotating council presidency for November.
"The members attach importance to the concerns of the African countries," Liu told reporters here in his capacity as president. "They see the role of Kenya in maintaining regional peace and stability, and countering terrorism in Africa. They do see this issue with utmost attention."
The members of the council also held that Kenya does face challenges in the field of peace and security, he said.
The council members had an in-depth discussion of the draft resolution, but remained divided, Liu said.
"You can imagine that there is no agreement on the thrust of the draft resolution, and the council will, of course, further deal with this matter," said the Chinese envoy.