UNSC casts off Africa’s plea for delay by a year of ICC’s trial

Tesfaye Ejigu

 The security council of the United Nations voted against the African Union’s proposal to delay the impeachment for a year of Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyata and deputy president William Rutto. Only Seven votes came in favor of the proposal from the 15 council members. The Africans run short of two votes to have the case postponed.  Britain, France and the USA- all members and supporters of the ICC, abstained from voting.

The ICC accused Kenya’s president and deputy president of crimes against humanity for stirring ethnic clashes which left more than one thousand Kenyans dead in post election 2007. The president’s trial is due to start in February after being delayed three times, while William Rutto’s is already underway. Rutto has appeared at the Court several times. The African Union called an extraordinary summit in Oct. in Addis Ababa at the behest of Kenyans though many African countries shared the concern that ICC targets Africans and African leaders.

“We do believe that the ICC, if used appropriately, can check impunity. But if it is used in a very selective manner, and without taking into due consideration what the African leadership is saying, then, of course, it can cause us problems,” Said Uganda’s deputy foreign minister, Asuman Kiyingi.

All current cases of the ICC – 20 cases involving eight countries – are against Africans; two of them against sitting head of states. Ethiopian Prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn said repeatedly that the ICC was ‘hunting’ Africans only. Worst still, many leaders in Africa say the hunt is racial based and neo-colonial.

The AU has tried to create its own African Court of Justice and human rights in place of the ICC but the efforts have been stalled and seem unlikely to get enough funding.

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