President Uhuru Kenyatta and part of the Kenyan delegation at the AU
extraordinary session follow proceedings at the African Union Centre in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
The African Union on Tuesday cited Kenya's status as "a
frontline state in the fight against terrorism" in a formal plea to the
United Nations Security Council for deferral of the International
Criminal Court cases against Kenya's leaders.
proceedings against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President
William Ruto "may pose a threat to the ongoing efforts in the promotion
of peace, national healing and reconciliation as well as the rule of law
and stability in Kenya and the region," the AU declared.
AU added in a letter to the Security Council president signed by 49
countries that continuing the ICC prosecutions "will distract and divert
them from fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities."
Kenya topped the list of signers.
separate letter from Kenya's UN Ambassador Macharia Kamau also
emphasises the danger Kenya and the entire Horn of Africa faces from
A threat to international peace and security
is the only consideration by which the Security Council is permitted to
order a one-year suspension of proceedings before the ICC.
the proceedings for one year will give time, Ambassador Kamau wrote,
"to consider how best to respond to the threat to international peace
and security in the context of the Kenya situation."
its letter to Azerbaijan UN Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev, who is serving
as council president in October, the AU called the security situation in
Kenya "very complex."
"There are at play important
dynamics and tensions of politics, peace, justice and the rule of law.
regional and national insecurity as well as a very acute sense of
ethnicity that cannot be wished away or swept under the carpet," the
African Union said.
The AU letter also noted that Kenya
has undertaken a series of reforms in recent years, including a
strengthening of the judiciary.
Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto at the fore, the country has likewise
adopted "bold measures aimed at promoting national reconciliation and
healing," the letter added.
The AU also calls on the
ICC to postpone President Kenyatta's trial and suspend Deputy President
Ruto's until the Security Council addresses the deferral request.
at the UN suggest that the Security Council will find it difficult to
reach consensus on the AU request. And if even one of the council's five
permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United
States -- objects, a deferral will not be granted.
The council rejected a plea for deferral of the Kenya cases in 2011.