President Kenyatta Temporarily Lays Down Powers to Attend ICC

Kenya’s President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta confirmed to a joint sitting of the National Assembly and Senate today that he will be going to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to attend a status conference on his case on Wednesday.

Kenyatta said he was handing over power to Deputy President William Samoei Ruto so that he can attend the status conference as an individual. Kenyatta said he would be doing this by invoking a constitutional provision that allows the president to appoint his deputy as acting head of state. After his speech to parliament, he held a ceremony at Harambee House, the downtown Nairobi office of the president, where he signed the legal notice effecting the handover of power.

In his address to the National Assembly and Senate, Kenyatta told legislators he was going to The Hague so as to ease anxiety about whether he would appear before the ICC as ordered by Trial Chamber V(b).

“Nothing in my position or my deeds as President warrants my being in court. So to all those who are concerned that my personal attendance of the status conference compromises the sovereignty of the people or sets a precedence for the attendance of Presidents before the court, be assured this is not the case,” Kenyatta told legislators.

“To protect the sovereignty of the Kenyan Republic, I now take the extraordinary and unprecedented step of the invoking Article 147(3) of the constitution and I will shortly issue the legal notice necessary to appoint Honourable William Ruto, the Deputy President, as acting President while I attend the status conference at The Hague in the Netherlands,” said Kenyatta.

Before Monday’s speech to the parliament, there had been speculation whether Kenyatta was going to attend the status conference on Wednesday as ordered by the chamber. The speculation gained momentum when the chamber declined to grant the request of Kenyatta’s lawyers that he be excused from the status conference or it be postponed to a later date.

The chamber has scheduled two status conferences for Tuesday and Wednesday because it says the Kenyatta case has reached “a critical juncture.” A status conference is a meeting between the judges and lawyers in which judges may seek clarifications on submissions the respective lawyers have made to it. It is also a forum where the judges and lawyers may address other matters.

In the case of this week’s conferences, the judges will be asking about progress in implementing earlier orders they issued to the Kenyan government to provide to the prosecution eight categories of records. The prosecution have said these records will determine whether they will drop the charges against Kenyatta.

During his address to Parliament, Kenyatta stated he was innocent of the five counts of crimes against humanity that he is facing at the ICC. The charges arose from the violence that followed the December 2007 presidential poll. At the time Kenyatta did not run for president but was supporting the re-election campaign of then incumbent President Mwai Kibaki.

“I wish to reiterate here for all that my conscience is clear, has been clear and will remain clear that I am innocent of all the accusations that have been leveled against me,” Kenyatta told legislators.

7 Comments

  1. Moreno O’campo vowed from the onset of the trials to ensure Kenya became an example to the world.To that extent I agree with him.

    Basic tenet of Democracy is Constitutionalism. The President of Kenya has shown respect for this tenet by attending the trial.

    Western countries are yet to achieve these high level/standard; they have neither subscribed to international law nor are they willing to have their citizens held to account for human rights abuses.
    Accusations of impunity on Kenya have been proved hot air after all .

    Reply

  2. Bravo to Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta’s move. This will shame those who thought that he was hiding behind the presidency, even though during his campaign had said he will face it as individual. May this ICC’s 2 days event be the last for Kenyan people.

    Reply

  3. The highest office has shown the way, now its the turn of those defiant governors who have ‘eaten’ from tills under their watch but do not want to account.
    Instead they spew threats and disdain.

    Time is running out and soon masses under you may soon mobilize to demand their money. Where will you run to?

    Reply

  4. I give full support to the bold courage that our dear president took by deciding to appear before the icc to prove to the world that he does not hide behind the presidency of kenya and prove his innocence on the allegations against him.We in kenya we know how the PEV started which was due to the election of 2007 which was bungled nothing more nothing less .

    Reply

  5. It’s written in the old golden archive of christianity that ”As i walk through the valley of the shadow of death,i fear not evil” and ”If GOD is with me,who can be against me?”.
    My President,hold steadfast to what honour the world within embeleshes on you.Victory is for the strong.Kenya Loves You

    Reply

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately.
See our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.