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Kenyan leader hits ICC over post-election chaos

17 November 2015, 21:35

Eldoret - Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has accused The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) of trying to stoke tensions in the country, saying it should keep off Kenya's internal affairs.

Kenyatta said the government should be given room to run its affairs peacefully without disturbing the existing peace in the country.

Kenyatta who was the first sitting Head of State to appear at the ICC before the charges against him were dropped late 2014 expressed optimism that just like he overcame the ICC case, the similar case facing Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang will soon be dropped.

"We are appealing to friendly countries to support us in our agenda of consolidating peace and unity in Kenya," the president said.

In dropping the charges against Kenyatta, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda noted the tribunal's difficulties in bringing to justice the high-ranking officials it has accused of atrocities and accused the government of harassing and intimidating potential witnesses.

Kenya, whose government unwittingly landed before the Court by playing to the whims of interested politicians, has been mounting a political battle against the ICC, going all the way to the UN Security Council, later decided to try its luck before the Court.

Also read: Kenya's focus turns to saving Ruto at the ICC

But after initially hoping to win quick fixes, a bid to demand a deferral of the two Kenyan cases for local trials on the basis that law reforms had been initiated later fell flat and a lobbying campaign succeeded only continentally.

Kenyatta who was speaking in Eldoret emphasized that his government has not lost its focus on achieving its twin objective of uniting the country and improving the lives of Kenyans.

He said the government is committed to ensuring that the development momentum that the country has gained is not slowed down by external or internal disruptions.

Kenyatta was charged with orchestrating the bloodshed which followed a disputed presidential election result in December 2007.

Ex-President Mwai Kibaki and his close rival, ex-Prime Minister Raila Odinga, fiercely contested the 2007 presidential elections which resulted into a two-month long post-election violence that uprooted more than half a million people.

The violence was blamed on the fierce competition for a share of the national wealth between the various tribal groups. Most of it had to do with the distribution of land and access to State power.

Ruto, who was a lawmaker at the time of post election violence that rocked the East African nation, has been attending his trial for crimes committed during the violence.

Ruto and Kenyatta who were on opposite sides of the political divide in 2007-2008 are accused of organizing attacks against one another's supporters. They were elected in March 2013 on a joint ticket.

Both Ruto, Kenyatta and journalist Joshua Sang are not subject to arrest warrants, having cooperated with the court until now, and have pledged to continue voluntarily appearing before the ICC.


- Xinhua


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