THE SUDAN’S PRESIDENT STATE VISIT:WAS IT AN ACT OF RIDICULE TO THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURTS, OR, DID THE GOVERNMENT FAILED IN IT’S OBLIGATION TO COMMIT ITSELF FULLY TO THE ROME STATUTE LAWS? By Mungai.

 

 

It can be described as a situation not worth handling or even attempting to think about it because of the ramifications and repercussions it might ripple afterwards. And, courting such a situation, or scenario can put one on a storm as the spotlight focuses it’s attention on that scenario if it happens that it’s against to the contrary of the law. Such situations can only happen in KENYA where sometimes the laws of jungle are orders of the day.

This is the situation we delved ourselves into during the promulgation of the New Constitution. On that day, the promulgation and ushering of the New Constitution nothing could have been made even a crack of whim to distaste the occasion. And, as has been the tradition and norm in most countries when they are hosting such a memorable event of big magnitude, it is thought wise to invite the presidents of the neighbouring countries and other international dignitaries to bear witness to that special occasion. So as a state we had invited all these guests.

And as the neighbouring state Presidents and other guests were arriving and been accorded the necessary ushering in accordance with their status, one surprise guest made a grand appearance out of the blues which made most Kenyans and the international community to go a bit agape. That surprise visit appearance “the cameo appearance”, happened to be the Sudan’s President Hassan Omar El – Bashir, in total defiance of a warrant of arrest issued on him by the International Criminal Courts.

It was ridicule to the Hague based courts. Kenya was in the eye of a storm for hosting Sudanese leader indicted by the Hague. To the I.C.C, the Sudanese President remains an indicted man. He is the first serving president to be indicted and issued with warrants of arrest over genocide and crimes against humanity.

The occasion turned to be a nightmare occasioned by this stain which might haunt us all the cameras focused on him and Kenya’s reluctance to arrest him.. As a country we might face diplomatic ridicule with for reaching ramifications following international protests. Pressure was exerted and criticism leveled from the I.C.C for our failure to arrest him and co-operate with the Hague based courts which in the argument puts our case in doubt whether we will co-operate with the ICC.

According to the laws that governs and the international Criminal Courts, Kenya stands accused because violating one of the laws despite it been a signatory to the Rome statute which binds it to those laws. That law stipulates that the Assembly of Member states do have an obligation to arrest any suspect indicted by the I.C.C, if they are within their jurisdiction territory and hand over him.

But, did the Kenyan Government had a moral obligation to arrest the Sudanese president despite the country been the signatory to the Rome statute which binds it? Did we violate the I.C.C laws, or was it an act of ridicule to the Hague based courts? Was the country action justified in relation to its obligation and commitment to the statute?

According to I.C.C’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, he said that Kenya has a clear obligation to co-operate with the Court in relation to the enforcement of such warrant of arrest. The court has informed the security council of the United Nations and the Assembly of state parties to the Rome statute about El-Bashir’s presence on the territory of the republic of Kenya in order for them to take any measure they may deem appropriate.

The I.C.C in it’s protest note to the U.N Security Council slammed the government and wants the security council to hold the government to account for playing host to one of it’s criminal targets, despite Kenya being signatory to Rome statute which created it.

In response the Foreign affairs Minister said that he (El – Bashir) is a state guest. You do not harm or embarrass your guest. This is not African………He was here in response to an invitation to all our neighbours to attend this historic moment for Kenya.

The I.C.C are special courts which were established by the U.N Security Council to try Prime Suspects who either aids, instigates, influences, finances, commits genocide and crime against humanity. If their country’s judicial system is a failure, or, it is in the brink of civil war. The assembly of member states who signed that law committed themselves to it to enhance the dissemination of Justice and indict the perpetrators. The talks to establish the courts were held in Rome, Italy hence the name statute derived from it.

Thus, it was on this vein that the I.C.C indicted the Sudanese President and issued warrants of arrest on him. He is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur region in Southern Sudan.

It is worth noting that Sudan has been on the brink of civil war for almost 20 years which hasn’t yet healed despite the signing of the comprehensive peace accord in 2004 between the Southern and Northern Sudan. The South Sudan are heading to a referendum in January to decide whether they should be autonomous from the North.

In that Civil war, it is estimated that millions of people have been killed and others displaced especially those from the Southern region, In Darfur, of which the Northern Arabs have been accused of committing the heinous acts.

Thus, the vengeance which raised international outcry and condemnation due to Kenya’s failure to arrest him.

In it’s spirited defense, the Kenyan government which made the invitation to the indicted president amid the warrant of arrest argued that it did so in good right of neighbourhoodness and to cement the completion of the pace accord process. The government also sided with the African Union which made a resolution and advised it’s member states to ignore the I.C.C warrants of arrest.


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