Voting at a past meeting of the United Nations Security Council. The
United Nations Security Council Friday rejected a resolution to defer
the International Criminal Court cases involving President Kenyatta and
Deputy President William Ruto with seven countries in favour, none
opposed and eight abstaining, including US, Britain and France. PHOTO |
Saturday, November 16, 2013
The UN Security Council Friday rejected a resolution to defer
the International Criminal Court cases involving President Kenyatta and
Deputy President William Ruto.
The vote in the
15-member council was seven countries in favour, none opposed and eight
abstaining, including US, Britain and France.
sharp reaction to the outcome of the vote, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs
Ministry accused the “important members” of the Security Council of
“reckless abdication of global leadership” that it said, had “humiliated
the continent and its leadership”.
statement accused the US and UK “contempt for the African position” and
“showing clear cowardice in the face of a critical African matter, and a
lack of appreciation of peace and security issues they purport to
advocate” by abstaining from voting.
At the same time,
Kenya thanked China and Azerbaijan (in the chair) and Rwanda, Togo and
Morocco — the three African members on the Security Council — “for their
Rejection of the deferrals
resolution means that the fate of President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto now
lies with the Assembly of State parties to the Rome statutes, which form
the ICC, to change the law to give immunity from prosecution to heads
of state and government.
African nations will be pushing for the changes when the group meets in the Hague from November 28.
successful, serving presidents, deputy or vice-presidents and prime
ministers and their deputies will be immune from prosecution by the ICC.
this fails, the AU has threatened to call an emergency session of its
top decision making organ, the heads of state summit, to ask its 34
members to quit the ICC.
It is thought that would force
judges, prosecutors, investigators and other staff from Africa working
for the ICC to be withdrawn.
It would also mean that
ICC staff currently enjoying diplomatic and other VIP status in those
African nations would have to leave.
Security Council rules stipulate that a resolution requires nine affirmative votes in order to be approved.
countries abstaining apparently acted on the view that votes in
opposition would have intensified divisions on the issue of the Kenyan
trials. Abstaining nations have, in effect, forced the trials to go
Kenyan UN Ambassador Macharia Kamau was at the Security Council meeting as an invited observer.
So were delegates from Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Senegal and Togo.
African states currently represented on the council —Rwanda, Morocco and Togo — were also present.
US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ms Jendayi Frazer
accused the Security Council of failing to take responsibility for
“Eight abstentions is a sign of cowardice. Africa’s fate is in your own hands,” she tweeted.
Evenson, a senior international justice counsel at Human Rights Watch
said: “The Security Council did the right thing in hearing out the AU’s
bid to suspend the ICC cases against President Kenyatta and
Deputy President Ruto.
But, after hearing the facts, the Security Council saw there were no grounds here to justify delay.”
Kenya’s leadership wants the cases terminated, which “would rob the victims of horrific crimes of any hope for justice.
should put an end to efforts to undermine the ICC’s cases and
perpetuate decades of impunity which only fuelled cycles of violence in
This is how some countries voted.
United Kingdom (abstained):
understand the desire to allow president and deputy president to fulfil
their obligations, “But there is a right place and a wrong place to do
that.” Security Council is not the right place, the Assembly of State
Of eight situations before court, five were initiated by African states.
Going forward with trials does not constitute threat to international peace and security.
We have long standing relationship with Kenya.
“We are disappointed that this draft resolution has been unnecessarily put to a vote in a way that highlights disagreements.”
Vote was not necessary. We all knew what the outcome would be.
is useless, and is fraught with risks we would like to avoid” —
artificial confrontation between African Union and Security Council.
“Kenya is a democratic and respected country and we understand role played by it in regional stability.”
United States (abstained)
Concerns of Kenya are best addressed by Assembly of State Parties.
Families of victims of electoral violence have already waited five years for justice.
Important to support accountability for those accused of crimes against humanity.
This is a new situation. ICC has never had trial of sitting head of state.
We are encouraged that Kenya is continuing to pursue its aim through Assembly of State Parties.
We abstained rather than vote no because of our respect for Kenya and African Union.
against President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto is not in and of
itself a threat to international peace and security.
ICC was established in order to eradicate impunity.
Security Council must not be seen as “helping the law of the jungle.”
is working closely with Kenya and other African countries regarding
amendments to be proposed at Assembly of State Parties.
are of the South.” In keeping with memories of those victimized in
Argentina, “the right of victims are not to be forgotten,” including
victims of 2007 in Kenya.
is a court of last resort. Principle of local jurisdiction needs to be
respected... We hope dialogue between African Union and council can
continue to find pragmatic solution.”
“African countries presented most compelling arguments.”
“Is this the right place to be today to discuss this issue? Yes, it is... Africa wants confrontation? Not at all.
Terrorism is the most important issue facing people of the world.
Kenyan leaders “are at the forefront of fight against international terrorism, and we are grateful.”
“Kenyatta and Ruto “should be respected, supported, empowered” not undermined at this time.
Rwanda expresses its deep disappointment at what transpired” in council today.
“Failure to adopt draft resolution supported by whole of African Union is a shame.”
“Let it be recorded today that Security Council failed Kenya and Africa.
This undermines tremendous difference made by leaders of Kenya in reconciliation of people of Kenya.
We believe this request was reasonable, legitimate.
“Some members of this council refused to negotiate on even a single paragraph of draft resolution.
16 allowing Security Council to grant deferral was not proposed by
African state but by some of the Western powers at this table.
Seems to have been conceived by big powers to protect themselves.
Some countries that did not vote for this resolution have not cooperated with ICC.
loses face and credibility in the world the more it allows itself to be
used by big powers of the world. It can’t continue like this.”
“One positive outcome today is reaffirmation of African unity and solidarity.
Of the 10 non-permanent members, five are elected by the General Assembly each year to serve two-year terms.
current non-permanent members are Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan,
Guatemala, Luxembourg, Morocco, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Korea and Togo.
AU and Kenya formally wrote to the Security Council last month seeking
the suspension of the cases on the grounds that they are undermining the
Kenyan leaders’ efforts to fight terrorism.
The continental body has already resolved that President Kenyatta ought not to attend his trial.
was initially expected to start on November 12 but was pushed to
February next year on the request of Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda for
If he gets the chance to participate at
the session listed on the Security Council’s plenary session in New York
listed on the order paper as ‘Peace and Security in Africa,’ Kenya’s
ambassador to the UN Mr Kamau, would be the man on the spot.