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Diplomats oppose Kenya's bid to end ICC cases

24 May 2013, 10:01

Nairobi - Kenya on Thursday got a chilly reception to its appeal to the UN Security Council to "terminate" International Criminal Court cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto for planning and financing Kenya's 2007-08 post election violence in which more than 1,000 people died and 600,000 were evicted from their homes.

President Uhuru and Deputy President Ruto are facing trial at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity charges related to the election violence.

Security Council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity after the private briefing, said Rwanda was the only one of the 15 council nations to show much sympathy for Kenya's argument that it should be allowed to work out its own problems, and that the ICC is obsessed with bringing cases against African rulers and politicians.

"We have asked that these proceedings be terminated as soon as possible," Macharia Kamau, Kenya's UN ambassador said. "Clearly they need to end because they are not consistent with peace and justice in our country."

One council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private, said most council members urged Kenya to respect their treaty obligations as a founding member of the ICC and said "you should cooperate fully with the ICC."

ICC cases can take years to prosecute, so it is possible that Kenyatta and Ruto might continue to give minimal cooperation with the court but serve out their terms before a verdict is near.

Kenya on Tuesday published a report from its own Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission that formed a wider effort to establish the truth behind historical violations that are partly blamed for the 2007-08 post election violence.

A 2008 government commission found historical injustices such as unequal land distribution were partly responsible for the violence. The new report reinforced those findings, saying that historical grievances over land constitute the single most important driver of conflicts and ethnic tension in Kenya.

Kenyatta, who received the report late Tuesday, said the government will take the recommendations seriously. He said that addressing the causes and effects of past injustices will contribute to national unity, reconciliation and healing, and would enable Kenyans to move forward with a renewed sense of nationhood.

- AP


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