Tuesday, November 19, 2013

THE ICC WILL BE RENDERED TOOTHLESS IF SUGGESTED AMMENDMENTS ARE MADE

Its my sincere hope that the Twelfth session of 122 nations who are also signatories to the Rome Statute congregating in The Hague will put emphasis on the genesis and intent to the founding of the ICC before they even contemplate any form of amendments majorly pursued by President Uhuru and his deputy.

Any hasty amendments to the Rome Statute will have dire consequences on the strength, respect and legitimacy of the court in fighting injustice and impunity in less democratic nations.

As they congregate in The Hague, from 21st November, we hope that the plight of the Kenyan victims of the post election violence and those from other nations will dominate the plenary and not the amendments pursued to protect the powerful.

Indeed, if the court was formed to deter people or leaders who use their powers to unfairly torture and kill the innocent, then the current arrangement where the accused are prosecuted irrespective of their status in society is the best option. Those who want to reverse this arrangement are enemies of justice, fairness and the war on impunity which continues to derail democratic success in Kenya.

For purposes of fairness, equality and access to justice, I don't agree with Britain's latest gesture where they suggest for President Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto to be tried via video link.

Besides, why should an accused person- leaders attend court sessions from the comfort of their State palaces to the glare of the victims who are alleged to have been inflicted with pain by the same leaders?

Suppose the evidence adduced by the prosecution in court appears to implicate an accused national leader, will the flexibility pursued to amend the Rome Statute, not give that leader room to build more avenues for dictatorship in order to remain in power and therefore abscond the court process altogether?

I'm not savvy in criminal law, but I'm sure there is no court in the world where an accused criminal dictates the court on the way he or she should be tried. Mutilating the Rome Statue to make Uhuru and Ruto happy is killing the court which is the only haven for safeguarding justice to those who cannot easily get it in their countries.

Besides, perceived dictators and purveyors of impunity need to be kept in check and the surest way it to avoid tampering with the current structure of the Rome statute.

Take for instance the former candidate of the ICC, the late Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, and former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor who has since been sentenced by the Hague court, would they have travelled from their respective countries to the Netherlands to serve their prison terms if they went on trial through video link?

Secondly, will the ICC indictee and President of Sudan Omar Albashir’s regime nurture any democratic reforms in the Country when he is an international fugitive? Mr. Bashir is only interested in shielding himself from trial while consolidating power in perpetuity-life presidency?

Suppose the Sudanese strongman opined to attend his trials via video link from his Khartoum palace, how would one expect him to leave office and travel to The Netherlands to start his jail term if he is found guilty?

Immunity from prosecution for all sitting heads of states will be the best way to make the ICC toothless, create more life Presidents and manufacture more despotic leaders especially in the Africa Continent.

Its ironical that President Kenyatta, who is exerting too much energy to stop his case and his handlers plus his defense team have hinted several times that his case is weak and that the prosecution witnesses were coached by the Civil Society to implicate him. Why can’t he just join his deputy to let justice take its cause while he continues with his Presidential duties?

When the motion for deferral for Uhuru and Ruto’s cases was defeated at the United Nations Security Council, the Kenyan Government has been ballistic; mostly excoriating two key world powers- the USA and Britain, whom they have consistently accused of wrongly targeting Kenya and Africa, unfairly.

It’s extremely undiplomatic for the Kenyan leaders to peg the Country’s foreign relations based on the cases they face at The Hague.
Truly, how can personal challenges facing a President and his deputy define a nation’s global policy? When mortal Ruto and Uhuru will exit the scene, does it mean Kenya will fade from this planet?

In fact, Deputy President William Ruto who openly professes the Christian faith should be the last person to castigate other nations on the nature of their friendship with Kenya. An entire society cannot be punished because of alleged inequities of a few individuals.

Ruto should remember that we are in a new Covenant where you take responsibility for your own actions.

For instance, in the book of Ezekiel 18:20, it's clearly written that, the soul that sinneth, it shall die; a son shall not be punished for his father's sins, neither shall a father be punished for his son's sins.

The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. That is why; I vehemently differ with the deputy President who early this week called the nations who voted against the deferral of their cases, enemies of 41 million Kenyans.

How can you call the USA and Britain, enemies of Kenya, when the two countries have always acted as our bigger brothers? In fact, they are the first to show up during our desperate moments.

If a leader has no intent to cause any atrocities, why is there too much energy from the Kenya leaders to amend the Rome Statute, and pave the way for immunity from prosecution? We will hate to see characters reminiscent to the late Bokassa, Mobutu, Idi Amin, Samuel Doe and Milosevic if the Rome Statute is amended.

The leaders who care about global peace, justice, security and checking impunity MUST resist the intended mutilation of the Rome Statute.
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