Ghana backs deferment of Kenyatta, Ruto trial

Dr Kwesi Amissah-ArthurGhana has backed the position of the African Union (AU) in requesting the International Criminal Court (ICC) to defer the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.

This was the outcome of an extraordinary summit of the AU attended by Vice -President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur and other African Leaders in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa last Saturday.

The AU has described the trial of Kenyatta and Ruto as discriminatory and a blatant attempt by the ICC and its collaborators to denigrate and vilify African leaders.

The Union stressed that, it will not under any circumstance, tolerate vicious orchestrations by the body to unduly target the continent’s leaders.

The summit, which was on the theme “Africa’s relationship with the ICC”, was one of the items on the agenda of the 15th Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU.

It was requested by the government of Kenya to enable African leaders to take a collective position on the issue.

The other agenda was the election of a new Commissioner for Peace and Security of the AU.

Contributing to the debate, Vice-President Amissah -Arthur associated Ghana’s position with that of the AU, requesting that the Security Council agreed to defer the case in the ICC against the President and Deputy President of Kenya.

Vice President Amissah-Arthur said Ghana suggested also that the AU sets up a contact group to constructively engage the Security Council and also encourage the African Parties to the Rome Treaty to seek the amendment of the Statutes in that respect.

He said in the event the request for deferment receives a negative response then, consistent with the positions that Ghana had adopted, it would encourage President Kenyatta not to appear in person at the trial.

Giving reasons for the position of Ghana, Vice President Amissah- Arthur explained that the Government of Ghana had noted positive developments that had taken place in Kenya since 2008, which he described had contributed positively to national healing and reconciliation.

He further explained that, President Kenyatta and his deputy have co-operated with the ICC and have fulfilled so far, all the obligations required of them and related to the case.

The Vice President noted that the Kneyan national election, which took place in March this year, had created a change in the sense that, national laws and sovereignty required that elected leaders be granted immunity from legal processes as long as they held office.

For her part, the Chairperson of the AU, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, pointed out that the organisation had impressed on the ICC to consider suspending the trial of the two Kenyan leaders since the trial was unfair and totally unacceptable.

She said the manner in which the court had been operating, particularly its unfair treatment of Africa and Africans, left much to be desired.

Dr Dlamini-Zuma explained that the court had transformed itself into a political instrument, targeting Africa and Africans, far from promoting justice and reconciliation and contributing to the advancement of peace and stability in the African continent.

“This unfair and unjust treatment is totally unacceptable and that is why we have been expressing our serious concerns against the ICC, she said.

She said African should not allow the ICC to treat its leaders and the masses of the people in a condescending manner, stressing that, the continent will marshal its resources to resist and overcome the posturing of the ICC to subject its leaders to wanton vilification and harassment.

The AU chairman said the body will reconvene on November 12, 2013 to deliberate on the outcome of its request to the ICC on the matter of suspending the trial of the two Kenyan leaders.

Vice-President Amissah Arthur was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Madam Hannah Tetteh and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mrs. Marieta Appiah- Oppong. GNA

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