Thursday, January 28, 2016

Kenya Deputy President Ruto’s Case to Get Prominence at African Union Summit
January 26, 2016

NAIROBI. — The post-election violence case against Deputy President William Ruto will once again feature prominently at the 26th African Union Summit, as Kenya prepares to push for the adoption of the outcome of the ICC’s 14th Assembly of State Parties.

Ruto’s legal adviser Dr Korir Sing’oei told the Nation that Kenya wants the AU to “adopt and affirm” its position on the use of the Rule 68 of the ICC’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence on the use of recanted testimony.

“Kenya is going to ask the African Union to reaffirm that Rule 68 should never have been applied against the Deputy President. This is one of the major things we will be seeking,” Dr Sing’oei said.

The theme of the AU Summit that started in Addis Ababa on January 21 is African Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on the rights of women. The biannual summit ends on January 31.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to travel to Addis Ababa for the heads of state and government summit proper which takes place on January 30 and 31.

But lawyer Haroun Ndubi termed Kenya’s proposed AU agenda as “a political statement equivalent to a roadside declaration.”

“It is meaningless and wasteful because the matter of Rule 68 is a judicial matter in the hands of the ICC’s Appeals Chamber,” said Mr Ndubi.

The AU at its last summit in South Africa directed the AU Commission to ensure that the AU is added as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) in on-going cases of African leaders at the ICC. As a result, the ICC received submissions from the AU on the appeal by Ruto against the application of the Rule 68 on the use of recanted testimony.

The ICC Appeals Chamber however rejected the submissions of Namibia and Uganda who also wanted to be included as amicus curiae in the case.

The appeal decision on whether ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda can rely on the recanted testimony is one of the two major decisions that Ruto and his legal team are looking out for. The other one is Trial Chamber decision on the no case to answer motion.

“The Assembly is expected to hear progress on implementation of previous decisions on ICC and adopt a declaration on the same,” head of Oxfam International Liaison Office to the AU Mr Désiré Assogbavi.

Besides the Rule 68 agenda, Dr Sing’oei also revealed that Kenya will also be pushing ahead with its agenda for the rapid expansion of the criminal jurisdiction of the African court to handle international crimes, otherwise known as the Malabo Protocol.

“It is something Kenya will be pursuing and the president (Kenyatta) will also be talking about to his colleagues,” said Dr Sing’oei.

This has been Kenya’s agenda for quite some time as the Jubilee lobbies African governments to sign the Malabo Protocol so as to operationalise the African court and bypass the ICC.

— Daily Nation.

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