Kenya’s traumatic terrorist attack that killed 67 people in a Nairobi shopping mall is affecting the country’s political future in an unexpected way.
According to AllAfrica.com, diplomats have hinted that the African Union will push to have the international criminal case against President Uhuru Kenyatta and deputy president William Ruto deferred by one year.
The International Criminal Court has charged Kenyatta and Ruto with crimes against humanity, alleging that they funded and planned post-election violence in 2007 and 2008.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, commission chair of the African Union, may lead the Union’s formal request to the International Criminal Court, pointing to the recent terrorists attacks and the need for the President’s presence in country as Kenya focuses on security. The trial would take Kenyatta and Ruto away for weeks.
The motion for deferral highlights rumblings within the ICC about the institutional fairness and efficacy of the court pertaining to Africa. Thirty four of the 122 member states in the ICC are African countries, and some members say that political motivations are directing the ICC’s actions.
Richard Dicker, head of Human Rights Watch’s International Justice program responded to the criticism from African countries to AllAfrica.com:
“In five of the eight African states where the court is conducting investigations, it was the governments of those countries that invited the ICC to step in as a court of last resort. Two additional situations, Libya and Darfur, are in front of the ICC because of Security Council action, not because of initiative taken by the ICC. And it is only in one situation – that is Kenya – that the court prosecutor acted on his own initiative.”
By week’s end, the African Union may submit an official deferral request at its summit about the International Criminal Court.