Mohamed: We are not lobbying Africans to quit ICC
09 October 2013, 17:06
Nairobi - Kenya is not lobbying other African states to quit the International Criminal Court, its foreign minister said on Wednesday ahead of an African Union summit set to discuss ties with the court.
The Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Amina Mohamed played down any prospect of united action by African countries over the court, where President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto face charges of fomenting post election violence after a disputed election in 2007. They deny the charges. Ruto's trial has already begun and Kenyatta's is due to start on November 12.
Parliament has voted to demand the government leaves the jurisdiction of the court in The Hague. Many other Africans have also voiced frustration that the ICC has so far only charged people from the continent.
But officials from several African states, including continental powers Nigeria and South Africa, have suggested there is no consensus to leave the court among signatories of the Rome Statute which established it.
"It is actually quite naive to think that 34 countries can come together with the sole aim of moving out of the Rome Statute," Mohamed told reporters in Nairobi ahead of Saturday's summit in Addis Ababa. "We have not asked anybody to support a walkout."
An African Union official had said in September, when the summit was announced, that leaders would decide whether African nations would withdraw from the court and said Kenya had been lobbying for support for that idea.
Mohamed said Africa's relationship with the court would be discussed at the summit, among other topics.
In May, the African Union backed a request by Kenya for the trials to be referred back to Kenya, on the grounds that the ICC hearings risked raising ethnic tensions and destabilising its economy.