Thursday 5th September 2013 may become one of the saddest days for Africa. In what many have described as shameful and embarrassing, the Kenyan Parliament voted to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in protest against the continued trial of President Uhuru Kenyetta and his Deputy William Ruto over their role in the 2007 post election violence that led to the death of over 1000 Kenyan Citizens. Several reasons have been canvassed for this withdrawal. Some have argued sovereign immunity; others the hypocrisy of Western Countries.
For the Human Rights Law Service (HURILAWS), this is a dangerous precedent that may ultimately exacerbate crimes against humanity and encourage more impunity in Africa.
The critical questions remain:
- Were crimes against humanity committed in Kenya?
- Should the perpetrators be held accountable? The answer to both questions is in the affirmative.
- Can the Kenyan government deliver justice in the present circumstance?
If the answer to the latter is in the negative then every other argument is a no issue.
The Human Rights Law Service therefore condemns in strong terms the decision taken by the Kenyan parliament and applauds the decision of the ICC to continue with the trial even with the withdrawal of the Kenyan government. Sovereignty will no longer be used as a cloak for impunity and crimes against humanity in Africa.