Jubilee lawmakers accuses ICC of shifting goal posts

Jubilee Coalition MPs have dismissed a letter by International Criminal Court officials against discussing Rule 68, saying it’s an attempt to interfere with Kenya’s right to fight injustice.

House Majority Leader Aden Duale said Kenya will not stand for this kind of behaviour which he said is aimed advancing vested interests at the expense of the country.

“Their notion that the belligerence will subdue Kenya and its allies into silence is unfortunate and a gross violation of the basic values of the Rome Statute and fundamental principles of international law,” he said in a statement titled: ‘ICC must stop playing games with the Kenya case.’

“This raises fundamental questions on the general independence and integrity of the court; on whose behalf, at whose behest, on whose motion and for what benefit is the court issuing this bizarre advice to ASP?”

ICC President Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, ICC Registrar, Herman Von Hebel and Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Monday wrote to the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) meeting warning it against interfering with the running of the court in any way.

In a joint statement to ASP President Sidiki Kaba, the three warned that separation of powers of the Rome Statute system requires the ASP to refrain from any action that interferes with the judicial independence, or creates a perception of interference.

“The independence of the court in the conduct of its judicial and prosecutorial functions is a fundamental tenet of the Rome Statute framework. It is respectfully submitted that in accordance with the role of the assembly within the constitutional framework and separation of powers of the Rome Statute system, the assembly must refrain from any action that interferes with the ICC’s independence in this respect or gives the perception,” they stated.

The trio said the appropriate forum to discuss and contest judicial matters is in the judicial proceedings before the court.

The three said the court was concerned that a number of issues have been proposed for discussion in the upcoming session which relate to matters clearly within the judicial and prosecutorial competence of the court.

In the letter, they said that some of the matters up for discussion are under active consideration before the ICC chambers, hence sub-judice.

They urged Kaba to ensure that the court’s judicial and independence is “not undermined, or perceived to be undermined by the proceedings of the assembly.”

More than 100 Jubilee MPs will be in The Hague this week for the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) meeting that starts on Wednesday.

Kenya wants the 14th Session of the ASP to discuss the use of recanted witness statements following amendments to Rule 68, which was however not to be used retroactively.

“We have said it before and we say now that the court violated basic tenets of international law and its own statute by orchestrating the introduction of rules midway through a trial and then go ahead to enforce them retrospectively. The ASP must condemn this outrageous double speak and duplicity by the court; it cannot allow international justice to sink this low,” Duale said in the statement.

He said they will renew their push to withdraw Kenya for the Rome Statute.

“This is another clear reason why Kenya should withdraw from the Rome Statute and not subject its citizens to political Kangaroo courts,” Duale stated.