Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

UN anger at 'throw out case' plea

A young girl cries as she is carried by a man and woman fleeing an area set on fire during post-election violence in Kenya (AP/Ben Curtis)

Kenya received a chilly reception at the United Nations Security Council when it urged the world body to "terminate" court cases against the president and deputy president for planning and financing the 2007-08 post-election violence.

More than 1,000 people died and 600,000 were thrown out of their homes during the violence.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto are facing trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity charges.

Security council diplomats 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 was 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 said most council members urged Kenya to respect its treaty obligations as a founding member of the ICC and said "you should co-operate fully with the ICC". ICC cases can take years to prosecute, so it is possible that Kenyatta and Ruto might continue to give minimal co-operation with the court but serve out their terms before a verdict is near.

South Sudan's president Salva Kiir criticised the International Criminal Court - during a visit by the Kenyan president - saying it was designed to humiliate African leaders and vowed to never sign the Rome Statute that established it.

On Tuesday Kenya 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. 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 said the government would take the recommendations seriously and addressing the causes and effects of past injustices would contribute to national unity, reconciliation and healing, and enable Kenyans to move forward with a renewed sense of nationhood.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz