Africa: Weekly Summary – Kenya Moves Towards ICC Pullout
Arusha — Kenya’s National Assembly voted Thursday to withdraw from the Treaty of Rome, which created the International Criminal Court (ICC). Meanwhile, the trial opening in Rwanda of the first accused person transferred by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was again postponed.
Kenya moves toward ICC pullout: Kenyan Members of Parliament on Thursday voted to withdraw from the Rome Statute, founding treaty of the ICC. This came as the ICC prepares to start trials of the country’s two top officials. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, both elected in the first round of elections in March, are charged with crimes against humanity committed during post-electoral violence in 2007-2008. The ICC reiterated that a withdrawal from the ICC cannot, under the Rome Statute, cancel or in any way influence cases already under way.
Nigeria urged to arrest Sudanese president: In a decision Friday, the ICC urged Nigeria to immediately arrest Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir if another opportunity arises. Bashir, who is the subject of two ICC arrest warrants, went to Nigeria in July to take part in an African heads of state summit on AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The summit ran from July 12 to 16, but Bashir quit the summit before the end of the meeting.
Uwinkindi trial postponed again: Rwandan judicial authorities on Thursday postponed once again the trial of Pastor Jean Uwinkindi, the first detainee to be transferred by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). This came at the accused’s own request. A new date of October 11 was set. Pentecostal pastor Uwinkindi, 60, is charged with genocide and extermination.
Ruto trial: The joint trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang is due to start Tuesday at the ICC. The two men, both of whom are still free, are charged with crimes against humanity committed during post-electoral violence in 2007-2008.
Decision on Rwandan extradition request: A French court is due to hand down Thursday a decision on a Rwandan extradition request for former deputy army chief of staff Laurent Serubuga, suspected by Kigali of involvement in the 1994 genocide.