Thursday, 5 September 2013

CORD Statement on the International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court is based on the principle of complimentarity which makes the court’s jurisdiction subordinate to national courts except in very limited and well established circumstances and situations.

The Court’s objective is partly to put an end to impunity so that the perpetrators of serious crimes within the jurisdiction of the court, including crimes against humanity, are punished.

The Constitution of Kenya aspires to put Kenya in the frontline of states that respect, defend and protect human rights with a view of developing a culture of human rights Articles 2 (5) and (6) and 59 of the Constitution together with the Bill of Rights underpin the centrality of Human Rights and International Law in Kenya's Legal System.

Kenya’s membership to the Assembly of State Parties of the International Criminal Court is a demonstration of the people’s sovereign will, in action, to be part and parcel of the family of nations which since the creation of the United Nations have reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person. Lip service to the values and principles of the United Nations as contained in the Charter and the various declarations and covenants of the global body continues to be the bane of peace, security and well being of the world. The relationship between the International Criminal Court and the United Nations underscores its instrumentality in meeting the objectives of the international community in attaining peace and security.

For Kenya to remain faithful to the Constitution as enacted and proclaimed on 27th August 2010 we must not contemplate withdrawing from the Rome Statute. Kenya cannot exist outside the realm of international law in all situations. That thinking has not helped former and current leaders of Libya, Cote d’Ivoire and Sudan to run away from or be shielded from international justice.

Even before the enactment of the Constitution, Kenya had enacted the International Crimes Act of 2008. However it did not come into operation immediately. The Act domesticated the Rome Statute and established clear mechanisms for cooperation between Kenya and the International Criminal Court. The Rome Statute is now part of Kenya’s municipal law.

Withdrawal from the International Criminal Court will be inconsistent with and defeat the purposes and objectives of the Constitution of Kenya and will not bring honor to the nation and dignity to our leaders. The reputation of being the first country to pull out of the International Criminal Court is not a good one for Kenya. Merely a forthright ago the United Nations General Assembly reaffirmed its full support for the International Criminal Court and Kenya should not take lightly the resolutions and Commitment of the World body.

TheJubilee Coalitions motion to intimate Kenya's withdrawal from the Rome Statue is capricious and ill considered. It cannot objectively and concretely as it regards the current Kenyan cases at The Hague. Neither will the international Criminal Court suddenly disappear from the International Criminal Justice System or the world order.

We in CORD have never wanted to have our citizens tried outside our courts in a foreign land for crimes committed in our territory. We fought very hard for the creation of a court within our judicial and criminal justice system with the competence of dealing with international crimes. Collective amnesia has however been generated through falsehoods and propaganda to hoodwink the nation that the current cases in the Hague were triggered and propelled by way of a political stratagem and purpose calculated to advance the partisan course of a specific group. If that were so such abuse of a judicial process and oppressive conduct could never be entertained by any court including the International Criminal Court and that alone would be enough to vitiate any proceedings.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga with President Mwai Kibaki tried in vain to have a local judicial mechanism established by legislation but members of the 10th Parliament, most of them in the Jubilee camp frustrated the efforts. A delegation of senior ministers in the Grand Coalition Government was sent to Geneva and the Hague to seek more time to engage members of parliament and stakeholders with a view of avoiding the proceedings before the International Criminal Court. The Court and H.E. Kofi Annan granted the request but again the refrain ‘DON’T BE VAGUE SAY HAGUE’ had taken root. Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka undertook an extensive shuttle diplomacy to stop or suspend the trial of Kenyans at the International Criminal Court again without success. Raila Odinga engaged both the United States and the United Kingdom governments on a similar mission but the efforts did not bear any fruit and the United Kingdom gave its reasons in declining the request in writing. Hon Moses Wetangula was also engaged in the initiatives as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and a member of the cabinet committee that was dealing with International Criminal Court matters at the time. The record of the CORD leadership has therefore been very clear, consistent and unequivocal both on the question of the creation of a competent national tribunal and the referral of the current cases in the Hague back to Kenya.

Finally CORD wishes the President, the Deputy President and Mr. Joshua Arap Sang well and truly believe that they will be absolved through the judicial process of the International Criminal Court and that the cause of justice will be met. During the general elections CORD accepted the candidature of the President and the Deputy President without any hesitation in the spirit of democracy and justice. The narrative of our politics must qualitatively change in order to create an enabling environment for reform and progress. Kenya is not on trial and the people of Kenya are not at the stakes. CORD believes that international justice will render good judgment to our sons and the nation will emerge stronger and more united.


Monday, 2 September 2013

Rt Hon Raila Odinga Visits Baringo Flood Victims, Mourns Journalists Sir David Frost

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga will this morning head to Baringo County where floods have forced people to flee their homes in what is believed to be increased water levels at Lake Baringo. The Prime Minister will be accompanied by other CORD leaders as well as local leaders from Baringo County.

Odinga, who has been in North Rift since yesterday at the invitation of Cherengany Mp Wesley Korir and Radio Journalist Joshua Arap is expected to continue with his tour of the Rift Valley.

The CORD leader has stepped up his criticism of the Jubilee government and President Kenyatta who recently issued over 60,00 title deeds at the Coast in stark contravention of the law. All land matters were to be dealt with by the National Land Commission, the only statutory body mandated to adjudicate land matters, bearing in mind the historical injustices associated with land ownership.

Elsewhere the PM paid glowing tribute journalist Sir David Frost who passed away yesterday saying the news left him ‘drained and overwhelmed’. This is very easy to understand because in Odinga’s illustrious political career which outstretches continental Africa and overflows into the Pacific, he has inculcated a global image unrivalled by any of his contemporaries in Africa, thus Sir Frost, a leading world journalist with a soft spot for Africa became a natural friend.

“ In my career in public life, and in my five years as Prime Minister of the the Republic of Kenya, I never met a journalist with such an incisive mind, more understanding and more empathetic to the tribulations of the Third World as did Sir David,” said Odinga who received the news of Journalist Frost’s sudden death while on a tour of the Rift Valley.