The Jubilee administration will this week renew its push to have Kenya withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Though the Executive is yet to act on two resolutions previously passed by Parliament, the National Assembly will seek to complete debate on a Bill to repeal the International Crimes Act.
State House yesterday said the Cabinet will consider the previous resolutions but did not give any time-frame. This comes only days after Burundi and South Africa formally informed the United Nations they are withdrawing from the ICC.
National Assembly majority leader Aden Duale said the Bill to repeal the International Crimes Act will be considered during tomorrow’s House Business Committee meeting.
“I will ask the House Business Committee to consider this Bill for debate in the coming week. Ultimately, our decision to leave the ICC is there. The spirit is there and I’m one of those who believe we have no business being in the ICC,” he said.
Parliament will now seek to repeal the Act, which incorporates the Rome Statute in the Kenyan Constitution and obligates the government to cooperate with the ICC.
A repeal would force the Cabinet to come up with a resolution, which will then be transformed into the withdrawal instruments.
Filing such instruments with the UN Security Council will mean Kenya will effectively have left the ICC after the end of a one-year period.
Yesterday, State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the Executive is yet to make any decision on the matter, hence the issue is pending.
The Bill by Bumula MP Boniface Otsiula was published on October 23 last year but is yet to come up for the second reading.
“The principal object of the Bill is to repeal the International Crimes Act 2008 in its entirety,” the memorandum of objects and reasons in the International Crimes (Repeal) Bill 2015 states.
“The International Crimes Act 2008 is hereby repealed,” the Bill states in the single clause.
If the Bill is passed and assented to by the President, Kenya will become the third African country to withdraw from the ICC. Burundi was the first to do so last week after President Pierre Nkurunziza signed into law a Bill formalising the exit.
Two day’s later, South Africa notified the UN Security Council. It said the court is not in line with its efforts for peaceful conflict resolution.
This is not the first time MPs have set out on a motion to have Kenya withdraw from the ICC.
A similar move was made in 2013, when the court demanded President Uhuru Kenyatta appear before it in person.
After four hours of debate, the MPs passed a motion allowing Kenya to withdraw from the ICC, though the opposition walked out of the debate.
In January this year, the African Union backed Kenya’s agenda for a mass walkout from the ICC during a Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa.
Uhuru said Africa should make a powerful statement that reflects its refusal to be carried along in a system that has no regard for the sovereignty of nations and tramples on the security and dignity of Africans.
He said the court had subjected him and Deputy President William Ruto to “cases built on weak investigations and pursued with politicised zeal”.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has since withdrawn the charges against Uhuru, while ICC judges ruled that Ruto and his co-accused Joshua Sang had no case to answer due to insufficient evidence.
On Saturday, the ICC urged Burundi and South Africa to reconsider their decisions. “Although withdrawing from a treaty is a sovereign act, I regret these decisions and invite South Africa and Burundi to reconsider their positions,” Assembly of States Parties President Sidiki Kaba said in a statement.
“I urge them to work together with other states in the fight against impunity, which often causes massive violations of human rights.”
Kaba said the assembly is concerned that this disturbing signal would open the way to other African states to follow suit.