A Rapid Follow-Up to the al-Bashir in Kenya Saga

So al-Bashir did not go to Kenya today. Instead, the IGAD summit that was initially supposed to take place in Nairobi will take place instead at a date still to be determined in Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, which is not a State Party to the Rome Statute and therefore is not bound to execute the arrest warrants. At the insistence of the United States, Security Council Resolution 1593, which referred the situation of Darfur to the International Criminal Court, makes that very clear at paragraph 2 (emphasis is mine):

2. Decides that the Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur, shall cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor pursuant to this resolution and, while recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligation under the Statute, urges all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully;

Kenya did respond to Pre-Trial Chamber I’s request (see my previous post) by merely stating that there was no plan for the Sudanese President to come, which was, once the summit was moved to Ethiopia, true.

There’s not much to say here, and perhaps the saga ends here. The Pre-Trial Chamber’s “warning shot” probably did, despite (former) Kenyan Foreign Minister Wetangula’s claims, dissuade Kenya from holding the summit and receiving Bashir.

I did particularly enjoy Mr. Wetangula’s arguments in that article, not only claiming that Kenya did not push for the summit to be held in Ethiopia because of the ICC Judges’ request (to be fair, only the Kenyan authorities know for certain, but that’s very unlikely), but also said some pretty ludicrous things, such as “We have no demands from the ICC and we are not the arresting agents of the ICC so that is not an issue” (oh, really? Just imagine what people like Moses Wetangula would say if ICC investigators conducted an arrest à la Eichmann), and “ICC does not have a hold on Kenya, we are a signatory to a treaty establishing it so we cannot live under fear over a treaty that we are just a party to” (to be honest, I’m not really sure what that means).

As for the “former” in front of Foreign Minister, Mr. Wetangula resigned last Wednesday over allegations of corruption.

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  1. #1 by CRY ME AN ONION on 31 October 2010 - 11:17

    With a new constitution in place things seems to be changing in Kenya. Somehow, I have a strange feeling that it may be only a cosmetic change.
    Why cosmetic? They replaced Wetangula with George Saitoti as acting Minister for Foreign Affairs. Saitoti name was often mentioned in the Goldenberg corruption affair which cost Kenyan tax payer almost $650 millions.
    Kenya with Al-Bashir and ICC is just playing game. Let’s see what happens when Ocampo starts the trials of the one involved in Kenya post election violence

    • #2 by Xavier Rauscher on 2 November 2010 - 07:33

      It’ll be interesting indeed. Oddly enough, the ICC intervention is, from what I’ve heard, quite popular in the country, and has the backing of the “opposition” parties that are now in the National Unity government.

      So we’ll see how cooperative the Kenyan authorities prove to be when Moreno-Ocampo makes public his arrest warrants.

      On another note, I’m currently reading an excellent report on the AU’s position toward the ICC. Look to the blog tonight or tomorrow for a few thoughts!

  2. #3 by Mark Kersten on 6 November 2010 - 13:55

    Thanks for this, as always, Xavier!

    For supporters of the ICC, I would say this is one of the single most important events in the Court’s history. Moving a conference is a small thing in the great scheme of international politics, but if the ICC had anything to do with it, then the ICC can be very happy with itself: it has changed state behaviour. Of course, this is not the optimal outcome for the ICC – that would be, ironically, that al-Bashir actually goes to Kenya and is arrested. Still, in some senses, the ICC was established to change state behaviour. After the debacle of the al-Bashir’s visit to Kenya this summer, this is a significant success.

  1. IGAD Summit: It Did Move to Ethiopia Because of ICC « The International Jurist

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