Kenya vows to challenge ICC case

2011-03-09 22:27

Nairobi - The Kenyan government on Wednesday said it would challenge the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction and the admissibility of its case against six men suspected of crimes against humanity.

The Hague-based ICC issued summonses for the six - who include ministers and the son of Kenya's founding president - on Tuesday, in a fresh bid towards trying the main masterminds of deadly 2007-2008 post-election violence.

The six suspects vowed to obey the order to appear in The Hague on April 7 but a government statement signed by Kenya's interior and justice ministers, as well as the attorney general, vowed to fight the ICC's case.

"The government will challenge the admissibility of the cases as well as the jurisdiction of the court," the statement said.

The brief statement argued that the Rome Statute that set up the court authorises those who are summoned or their government to challenge the case and the court.

Key suspect Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, considered one of Kenya's most powerful men and the son of the country's founding president, even said he was happy to be heading to The Hague.

"In light of the recent developments at the ICC, I wish to state that I welcome the decision by the judges to issue a summons," he said.

Prove his innocence

"I am grateful that I will finally have the opportunity to be heard and am entirely confident of my innocence," Kenyatta added in a statement.

William Ruto, a former cabinet minister who was another of the top names on Ocampo's list, spoke through his lawyer Katwa Kigen.

"We are ready to go to the Hague. He will face the court and defend himself," Katwa said. "My client will prove his innocence before the court."

The charges include murder, deportation, rape, inhumane acts, persecution and torture.

It divides the six into two groups, ordering Kenyatta, public service head Francis Muthaura and former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali to appear at 14:30 (13:30 GMT) on April 7.

Muthaura said in a statement that he will "co-operate and abide by all decisions that may be issued by the judges of the ICC and undertake to comply with any and all conditions that may be required of me".

Sacked education minister William Ruto, former industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey and radio executive Joshua arap Sang must appear at 09:30.

Voluntarily appear

Sang, Ali and Kosgey also said they would voluntarily appear in court.

The judges found reasonable grounds to believe that the Kenyatta group was responsible for attacks against supporters of Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) with a view to keeping Mwai Kibaki's Party for National Unity (PNU) in power.

The group of Ruto, Kosgey and Sang, on the other hand, were believed to have been part of a plan "targeting members of the civilian population supporting the PNU, in order to punish them and evict them from the Rift Valley with the ultimate goal of gaining power and creating a uniform ODM voting block".

Kenyan lawmakers late last year moved a motion to support Kenya's withdrawal from the ICC and several leading figures of the state have vehemently opposed the ICC's intervention.

The summonses came as Kenyan Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka was at the United Nations to meet with senior officials and lobby for the deferral of the case against the six.

Read more on:    icc  |  kenya  |  east africa
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