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US urges Kenya to 'seek justice' for poll violence victims

Friday, September 06, 2013

The US State Department urged the Kenyan government on Thursday to "fulfill its commitments to seek justice for the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence."

The statement, however, did not explicitly criticise Parliament's vote to withdraw Kenya from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

"We note President Kenyatta’s recent statements affirming his commitment to ensure that Kenya meets its international obligations as a party to the Rome Statute," the statement said.

It adds that "the United States is dedicated to supporting the rule of law and working to ensure accountability for crimes against humanity."

Washington made no reference to its warning earlier this year that Kenya would face unspecified "consequences" if voters chose certain candidates -- understood to be Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto -- for the country's highest offices.

The US is not a party to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC.

On Thursday, Members of the National Assembly passed a motion to initiate the process of repealing the International Crimes Act and withdrawing Kenya from the Rome Statute.


Cord MPs stormed out of the chambers saying they would not want to be part of a process they said would end in Kenya being a pariah state and jeopardise the cases at the ICC.

The passing of the motion means that the government can now write to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon notifying him of Kenya’s intention to withdraw from the Rome Statute.

The National Assembly also resolved to have a Bill introduced within the next 30 days to repeal the International Crimes Act through which Kenya domesticated the Rome Statute.

President Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and former radio presenter Joshua Sang are facing charges of crimes against humanity in The Hague court.

They are accused of plotting, financing and executing the 2008 post-election violence in which 1,133 Kenyans were killed and more than 600,000 displaced from their homes.

Mr Ruto’s and Mr Sang’s trial starts next Tuesday while that of Mr Kenyatta opens on November 12.


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