Monday, February 07, 2011

ICC in the Media, Update #20

Amidst the extensive media coverage of Egypt and other nations this week the ICC still found its way into the news. Most significantly, the African Union has come forward in support of Kenya's request to delay ICC trials against some of its most powerful politicians. Kenya VP Musyoka has stated that Kenya will now attempt to lobby the Security Council to defer the proceedings. However, he has insisted that measures will be taken to ensure that justice is done through domestic proceedings. President Kibaki has taken a similar stance, which has been widely criticized as a flimsy attempt to shield 2012 presidential hopeful Kenyatta and other prominent politicians named by the ICC. Even Prime Minister Odinga, one of the ICC's most loyal supporters in Kenya, is reportedly in favor of reviving plans for a domestic tribunal. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State has stood up in support of the ICC proceedings, saying that the U.S. strongly backs the ICC's involvement in the 2008 Kenyan post-election violence. President of the ICC's Assembly of States Parties Christian Wenawesar has expressed his concern over Kenya's possible request to the U.N. Security Council. Such an action would be contrary to cooperation with the ICC, and would implicitly suggest that the situation is a threat to international peace and security. The ASP President has instead encouraged Kenya to work with the ICC which could, if Kenya demonstrates substantial efforts toward creating a local mechanism, grant Kenya a deferral. In the interim, Kenya's High Court has issued an order stopping the ICC's taking of statements from former security chiefs on the ground that it conflicts with an article in Kenya's new constitution. The case has been forwarded to the Chief Justice for further proceedings.

In other news, this week the Bemba trial has continued to hear witness testimony. Most of the stories heard involved rape, pillaging and physical violence. The trial will continue on Monday with the testimony of Witness 82. In the wake of Sudan's referendum vote an AU official has stated that the U.S. and France are considering supporting a Security Council deferral for the ICC case against President Bashir of Sudan to encourage peace in the region. Officials have said, however, that if this were to happen it would not be until south Sudan gains independence in July. Photo Credit: BBC News (displaying a scene from the 2008 post-election violence).

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