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East Africa's bloc urges speedy termination of Ruto, Sang cases

07 December 2014, 08:31

Nairobi - East Africa's mediation bloc on Saturday called for speedy termination of the remaining Kenyan cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Executive Secretary Mahboub Maalim also congratulated President Uhuru Kenyatta on the withdrawal of ICC charges by the court's prosecutor.

"IGAD will continue to call for the speedy termination of the remaining cases against all citizens of Member States of IGAD," Maalim said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The withdrawal of the charges leaves Deputy President William Ruto and former radio presenter Joshua Sang as the only people facing trial at The Hague over the atrocities that followed the contentious 2007 election.

The statement comes after the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Friday dropped all charges against President Kenyatta, highlighting the tribunal's difficulties in bringing to justice the high-ranking officials it has accused of atrocities.

Bensouda accused the Kenyan government of harassing and intimidating potential witnesses. "Given the state of the evidence in this case, I have no alternative but to withdraw the charges against Kenyatta," he said.

"I am doing so without prejudice to the possibility of bringing a new case should additional evidence become available."

In his statement, Maalim said IGAD stood by its March 2011 statement which stated that the Kenyan cases were politically motivated and were not the result of a credible judicial process.

"The IGAD fraternity and myself believed then as we do now in your innocence and we are gratified that you have been vindicated, " Maalim said.

Read Also: IDPs welcome ICC’s decision to withdraw Kenyatta's case

He noted that IGAD has been instrumental in rallying other African States for solidarity, particularly against ICC's targeting of sitting Heads of States.

"That solidarity has grown so strong in the past few years to the extent of generating a call for mass withdrawal of African States from the International body," he said.

The IGAD chief said the move to drop the charges has given Kenyatta a big relief including the entire East Africa region.

The Kenyan leader was indicted in 2011, but went on to become president in the 2013 election, using his indictment at The Hague- based court as an election issue.

He had been accused of indirectly sponsoring reprisals in the Rift Valley during the post-election violence that followed the 2007 General Election. More than 1,000 people were killed and about 500,000 displaced.

His government lobbied hard to have the case against him deferred by the UN Security Council, arguing that the delay was essential because Kenya needed its leader to help fight Al-Shabaab terrorists in neighbouring Somalia and at home.

Maalim said Kenya and the entire IGAD region is currently grappling with urgent challenges in the areas of peace, security and development that requires urgent attention from Kenyatta.

"The conclusion of this case will allow you to devote your undivided attention to exercise leadership in addressing all these regional concerns, including your constitutional duties of governing and improving the lives of the Kenyan people," Maalim said.

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- Xinhua


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