Kenyan Members of Parliament have officially approved a motion to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) following an emergency debate between the government and the opposition.
Opposition Members of Parliament boycotted the vote but the bill will be introduced back to the house in the next 30 days for it to be finally ratified.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has charged President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President, William Ruto with crimes against humanity following violence that broke out after disputed elections in 2007, in which more than 1,000 people were killed and 600,000 displaced.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto were on opposite sides during the 2007 election but formed an alliance for the last ended elections to beat long time opposition leader, Raila Odinga.
The Kenyan parliament is dominated by the Jubilee coalition formed by the current ruling government and opposition leader, Raila Odinga described the pulling out of Kenya from the ICC as “capricious” and “ill-considered”.
But the majority leader in parliament, Adan Duale told reporters after the bill was accepted that the United States of America had refused to sign the Rome Statute which establishes the ICC to protect its citizens and soldiers from potentially politically motivated prosecutions, and that Kenya should follow the same trend.
“Let us protect our citizens, let us defend the sovereignty of the nation of Kenya, the President and the vice President were lawfully elected and the government would take steps to immediately withdraw from the Rome Statute’’, Mr. Duale stated.
Meanwhile, the ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah told the BBC African Service that Kenya’s withdrawal would have no bearing on the cases against the two men.
“A withdrawal has an effect only for the future and never for the past, the ICC will go ahead to press charges against the two men and their failure to cooperate with the ICC could lead to International Arrest Warrant issued against them’’, he said.
In May this year at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, the African Union strongly accused the ICC of hunting Africans because of their race.
The International Criminal Court was set up in 2002 to deal with genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. The Rome statue establishing the ICC has been ratified by 122 countries including 34 countries in Africa.
Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News