In Summary
  • Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Mr Macharia Kamau, Saturday said there are no specific dates when a decision by the Security Council can be expected. “However, it is anticipated that the decision will come within the fortnight,” he said.
  • Kenya is citing the recent Westgate terrorist attack and the continuing peace efforts in Somalia by the Kenya Defence Forces to ask for a deferral.
  • The South Korean minister said the deferral clause should be invoked “only in exceptional circumstances” and backed the suggestion to address Kenya’s request through the assembly.

Kenya’s push to have the cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto deferred seems headed for failure after an informal gathering of the UN Security Council indicated it would turn down the request.

Rwanda, Togo and Morocco circulated a draft resolution for a deferral among UN Security Council members on Friday, but there are indications the request will be rejected.

Minutes from a lobbying meeting held among ministers of foreign affairs from countries sitting on the Security Council show that Kenya managed to secure the support of only five of the 15 members. Only one of these has veto power.

At the meeting in Washington, eight ministers turned down the proposal while two others were non-committal.

Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Mr Macharia Kamau, Saturday said there are no specific dates when a decision by the Security Council can be expected. “However, it is anticipated that the decision will come within the fortnight,” he said.

It is expected that the views of the foreign affairs ministers will be reflected when the request is put to a vote.

Frustration kicked in towards the end of the meeting with Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Secretary Amina Mohamed saying that if Article 16 was not applied, it might as well be deleted from the Statute.

Article 16 states: “No investigation or prosecution may be commenced or proceeded with under this Statute for a period of 12 months after the Security Council, in a resolution adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, has requested the Court to that effect; that request may be renewed by the Council under the same conditions.”

Ms Mohamed claimed that by refusing to grant a deferral, the council would be empowering those Kenya is fighting against (terrorists).

The minister asked how some Security Council members knew that President Kenyatta’s case would be postponed to February long before the decision was made public.

Rwanda’s representatives said they would table a resolution before the council even if a refusal was evident.

Ethiopia’s minister was also unimpressed, wondering why most countries held a similar position prior to the meeting. The minister accused Security Council members of having plotted in advance to reject Kenya’s request.

President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are accused alongside radio journalist Joshua Sang of bearing the greatest responsibility for the 2007-2008 post-election violence that left 1,113 people dead and over 600,000 displaced.

Ms Mohamed has undertaken shuttle diplomacy to convince Security Council members to defer the cases for a year.

The council can order a deferral of a case if there is proof that its continuation would jeopardise international peace.

Kenya is citing the recent Westgate terrorist attack and the continuing peace efforts in Somalia by the Kenya Defence Forces to ask for a deferral.

To achieve such a deferral, though, it is necessary to convince at least nine of the 15 members of the powerful council to vote in their favour without a veto.

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