Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to become first sitting President to appear at ICC
Kenyan President Kenyatta has confirmed his appearance at The Hague, Netherlands on October 8 to respond to multiple charges against him at the ICC (International Criminal Court).
In an unprecedented move, Kenyatta has invoked a hitherto unused article of the Constitution to resign temporarily, with the Deputy President, William Ruto, taking his place as Acting President till the return of Kenyatta. This step has been taken because Mr.Kenyatta has insisted that he will appear before the ICC in his personal capacity and not as the President of a nation. It is to be noted that Kenyatta had also appeared at the ICC before he became President in 2013.
Kenyatta will risk an international arrest warrant and international condemnation against him personally and economic sanctions against Kenya, if he failed to comply with the summons issued by the ICC.
Charges against Mr.Kenyatta
Kenyatta faces five charges of crimes against humanity, inciting violence and organizing ethnic massacres that killed 1,200 people. He has denied all the charges that have been brought against him.
In September, the ICC postponed the trial after prosecutors said the Kenyan government had failed to submit important documents. The case of the prosecution is weak as of now because several prosecution witnesses have withdrawn from the case. The ICC has summoned Kenyatta for a status hearing so he may explain allegations that evidence against has been withheld by the Kenyans. His request to participate by video was rejected by the Court.
The massacres that Mr.Kenyatta is accused of playing a role in, took place after the 2007 elections in Kenya. Kenyatta was a close ally of the winner of the election, Mwai Kibaki. Kibaiki’s opponent, Raila Odinga, claimed that the elections were rigged. The dispute then lead to violence with peoples of different ethnicities pitted against each other. Kenyatta is accused of organizing ethnic gangs to attack rival groups.
Around a thousand people were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced in the violence.