Western envoys set stage for UN talks on Uhuru

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Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed. She said that Kenya will implement the resolutions of a weekend African Union Summit which, among other things, asked Mr Kenyatta not to attend his trial at the ICC until the African Union is given a response to its request for a delay of the trial.

 

Uncertainty remains on whether President Kenyatta will attend the opening of his trial amid British media reports that the UN might postpone his case for year.
The Daily Telegraph Monday reported from Nairobi that a number of Western diplomats were preparing a UN Security Council resolution asking for the President’s case to be put off for a year.
A spokesman for the ICC said it had no scope to object if the Security Council invoked international security issues to suspend the case. 
“The Security Council can adopt a resolution to impose a suspension based on the protection of peace and security in the world,” said Fadi al-Abullah, the ICC spokesman.
“In that case it would be out of the hands of the prosecutor.”
But French President François Hollande, who is on a two-day tour of South Africa, said that if African states have a problem, they should look at ways of solving it within the ICC framework.
“Abandoning the ICC will be against the principle that established it, which is to fight impunity and other international crimes,” he said.
In Nairobi, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said that Kenya will implement the resolutions of a weekend African Union Summit which, among other things, asked Mr Kenyatta not to attend his trial at the ICC until the African Union is given a response to its request for a delay of the trial.
But she said it would be “premature” to state categorically whether the President will or will attend his trial or not. Tellingly, Deputy President William Ruto, whose case is already under way, flew back to the Netherlands to attend court despite the AU resolution.
Earlier in the morning, however, presidential spokesperson Manoah Esipisu had tweeted President Kenyatta saying “I am no longer a private citizen observing personal obligations.’’
The British High Commission, while not denying the Telegraph report outright, was vague, restating the British position encouraging President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto to cooperate with the International Criminal Court.
At the weekend, the AU criticised the ICC, which it sees as unfairly targeting Africans, and has contemplated a mass withdrawal from the court.
On Monday, British High Commission spokesman John Bradshaw said: “The UK position has not changed”.
He also said: “We are aware of the African Union decision taken at its Summit this weekend and are studying it in detail.
We are keen to engage in further dialogue on issues of concern, including at the ICC Assembly of States Party in November.”
Asked whether his country would support a UN Security Council resolution postponing the Kenya cases, Mr Bradshaw said: “It would be for the full Security Council to consider any formal request for deferral of the investigation or prosecution of cases before the ICC.”
The Telegraph, quoting sources, said the UN resolution being allegedly prepared was intended to avoid a damaging stand-off between the court and African states over Mr Kenyatta’s case.
Significant majority
The paper also pointed to a recommendation by a group of British MPs to their government to support the suspension of the trial.
“The events in Kenya were horrific but the President was democratically elected by a significant majority in full knowledge of the case.
That must give rise to questions over the continuation of the original application to the ICC,” Mr Bill Cash the Conservative MP and chairman of the All-Party Kenya Group is quoted as saying.
“Uhuru is not an indicted figure who is defying the court like Sudan’s president (Omar) Bashir.
He is someone who is working closely with the West in a region in chaos that needs to tackle a very worrying terrorist situation,” the paper quoted “a senior European diplomat” as saying.
The paper said “European officials have sought to adopt measures to ensure Mr Kenyatta is not forced to leave the country in the wake of the Westgate incident”, referring to the Shabaab attack on the mall in Westlands in which 67 people were killed and 240 injured.
The Telegraph said that British and French officials were spearheading the postponement move, “which could be adopted by the end of the month”.
On Monday, Ms Mohamed declined to state whether Mr Kenyatta will be in court on November 12.
She said the AU requests were still being processed for presentation to the United Nations Security Council.
“The Security Council has not been approached, the paperwork is still being processed.
When it is ready, it will go to the Council,” she said, adding, Kenya looked forward to a positive outcome.
Ms Mohamed spoke a day after the African Union Executive Council and Summit meetings in Addis Ababa Ethiopia threw their weight behind Kenya, showing solidarity with regard to the ICC cases facing the country’s top leadership.
The Executive Council and the Summit resolved that no sitting Head of State or Government or anyone acting or entitled to act in such capacity shall be required to appear before any international court or tribunal during their term of office.
Accordingly, both resolved that the trials of President Kenyatta and the Deputy President, Mr William Ruto, be suspended until they complete their terms in office.
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