France, a permanent member of the UN security Council has made up its mind and will not vote for Kenya’s ICC case deferral request endorsed by the African Union. What this means is, Uhuru Kenyatta will have to face the ICC in November if France gets its way with the rest of the member states.
Speaking at a press conference in Pretoria, South Africa, France’s President François Hollande’s confirmed however, that France is ready to try to find a way to ensure that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto can continue to govern Kenya while they stand trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC). President Hollande said that France could not accept any impunity and was committed to the ICC but, France would consider ways of striking a balance between the two principles at stake here; international justice and the right of states to be respected.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius confirmed in an interview that France hoped a solution could be found which avoided impunity but also ensured Kenya “did not come to paralysis”.
Hollande and Fabius seemed to be supporting the ICC being more flexible towards Kenyatta and Ruto, allowing them to govern Kenya while being tried. They seemed to be backing the earlier request from Kenyatta and Ruto to the ICC to allow them to appear in court only at the start and finish of their cases, leaving them free in between to govern Kenya. Zuma said at the press conference that the ICC had originally agreed to this request, but had then upheld an appeal against the decision by the ICC prosecutor and an NGO.
The ICC’s insistence that the president and deputy president would have to be in court throughout their trials would bring down the Kenyan state, Zuma warned. It is not know how China, Russia, UK and the US will vote but chances are, they will most likely vote no. A veto by any of the three countries would be enough to doom the deferral request. It is to be noted that this is not the first time the UN security council has rejected a deferral bid by Kenya. In 2011, Kenya’s bid for the suspension of International Criminal Court action against the Ocampo Six flopped following a rejection of the plea by key UN Security Council members.
This information should not come as a surprise as France had already made it clear before the March 4th elections that it supports the International Criminal Court (ICC) process in Kenya and will only have ‘essential contact’ with Uhuru Kenyatta if he is elected president. France ambassador to Kenya Etienne de Poncins, however, maintained that Kenyans have a right to elect leaders of their own choice in the March 4 General Election.“Our position is that we only have essential contact with somebody who is indicted by the ICC; it is a well-known position, same as that of the British,” the envoy had said in February 2013
From the Independent Foreign Service.