Statement by Ambassador Amina Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International trade, on the AU summit decisions at Harambee house on 14th october, 2013
As you recall, last week I informed you of the planned African Union Executive Council and Summit Meetings that consequently took place at the weekend, on the 11th and 12th October 2013.
The Executive Council prepared a draft decision for the consideration of the Summit. The final decision has been posted on our websites.
On behalf of the country, let me say from the beginning that we were extremely humbled and are very grateful for the unparalleled, unprecedented and unwavering support that we received from our continent.
In one accord, both the Council and the Summit stood with Kenya on the key questions of the day, showing a solidarity and grip of the major issues that Africa must address in its relations with the International Criminal Court as well as other partners.
Unanimously, the Council and Summit recognized that a sitting Head of State democratically elected, and with a clear mandate from the Kenyan people, must govern. That is what Kenyans expect. That is what Africa expects.
It was also clearly stated over and over again that sitting Heads of State and other senior State Officials are granted immunities during their tenure of office. That has always been and remains the practice today even as we speak.
Africa was unequivocal about its commitment to fight impunity, promote human rights, the rule of law, good governance and democracy on the continent in accordance with the constitutive act of the Union.
The continent confirmed its intention to ensure that the Rome Statute, which the majority of its members are party to, is modified by the Assembly of State Parties beginning November, to respond to the aspirations of its largest constituency for a court of last resort of the highest possible standards and standing.
Accordingly, and to ensure that the continent rises to its responsibilities and addresses the concerns of its people the AU Commission was mandated to urgently pursue the expansion of the mandate of the African Court of Human and People’s Rights to deal with crimes that fall in the category of International Crimes.
Specifically and in addition, you will be aware that the summit:
• Decided that no charges shall be commenced or continued before any International Court or Tribunal against any serving Head of State or Government or anybody acting or entitled to act in such capacity during his or her term of office.
• Agreed that, to safeguard the constitutional order, stability and integrity of member states, no serving AU Head of State or Government or anybody acting or entitled to act in such capacity, shall be required to appear before any international court or tribunal during their term of office.
• That, accordingly, the trials of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, be suspended until they complete their terms of office
• Requested the ICC to postpone the trial of President Kenyatta and suspend proceedings against Deputy President Ruto until such a time as the United Nations Security Council pronounces itself on Kenya’s request for a deferral
• Decided that President Kenyatta will not appear before the ICC until such a time as the concerns raised by the African Union and its member states have been adequately addressed by the Security Council and the ICC
What does this mean for Kenya and the President and Deputy President? Let me make the following points clear.
Kenya has from the beginning fully cooperated with the ICC and conformed to the Rome Statute without ever deviating from its obligations. Both the President and the Deputy President have continuously and without fail attended court sessions and argued their cases fully.
As you know our Deputy President is currently at The Hague to ensure that, even as we await for the processing of Africa’s request for a deferral, due process is not in any affected.
Clear decisions were made by the AU with clear time lines and we are all hopeful that as responsible members of the International Community, that Africa’s requests will be positively considered.
The President’s case is due to begin on November 12th 2013 – in a month’s time. The AU made requests to the Security Council, first under paragraph 9 (iii) for a suspension of the proceedings until the end of the terms in office of the President and his Deputy.
The AU asked that the trial of the President and the proceedings against the Deputy President be suspended, until such a time that the Security Council considers the request for deferral.
It was also decided that the President should not appear before the court until the concerns raised by the AU have been adequately addressed by the Security Council and the ICC.