Sunday, December 01, 2013

(ANN GARRISON) ICC judges say Kenya's Kenyatta can skip much of his own criminal trial
Submitted by Ann Garrison on Sat, 10/19/2013 - 21:02

KPFA Evening News, 2013

International Criminal Court judges say that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta need not be present for all of his own trial for crimes against humanity.

Transcript:

KPFA Evening News Anchor David Rosenberg: And, you are listening to the Evening News, KPFA and KPFB in Berkeley, KFCF in Fresno, and kpfa.org.

Yesterday a majority of International Criminal Court judges ruled that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta need not be present for much of his own trial for crimes against humanity, but that he must be present during the opening and closing statements, the victims’ testimony, and, the verdict. If found guilty, he must attend sentencing hearings and the delivery of sentencing, at which point he would presumably be taken into custody, leaving Kenya to replace him. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says he’s too busy, as Kenya’s elected head of state, to attend his trial at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, and the African Union, in their recent gathering in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia, passed a resolution that, as a sitting head of state, he shouldn’t have to. The court indicted Kenyatta for organizing violence that rose to the level of crimes against humanity, after his party lost the Kenyan 2007-2008 election, but he was nevertheless elected president in April 2013. His rival, former Kenyan Prime Minister Raul Odinga, who is favored by the U.S., said that he didn’t know how Kenyatta could run the country via SKYPE from the Hague.

Black Agenda Report Editor Glen Ford, like many other critics of the court, says that Kenyatta’s indictment is another example of the U.S. using the International Criminal Court as an imperial tool.

Glen Ford: It is a travesty of justice that the ICC only indicts Africans, but even more importantly, the International Criminal Court also only indicts those politicians that get on the wrong Kenyatta shook hands on deals worth $5 billion with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping in August 2013. side of the United States and the former colonial powers in Africa. The ICC is a tool of U.S. foreign policy.

KPFA: Some say that the U.S. is unhappy with President Kenyatta because he prefers to do business with China, and he did, in August 2013, sign five billion dollar deals with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, to build a railway line, an energy project, and improve wildlife protection. Yesterday an energy professional and Christian Science Monitor contributor said that Kenya’s oil reserves might soar past even Uganda’s.

Glen Ford disagrees with South Africa’s former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who says that African leaders are effectively looking for a license to kill, main and oppress their own people by withdrawing from the ICC. He says that the United States collaborates in such crimes and objects only as a matter of political convenience.

Glen Ford: And here lies the greatest irony. The very nations that most oppose the ICC have the blood of millions on their hands. Rwanda and Uganda are principally responsible for the death of six million Congolese over the past 17 years, an ongoing genocide armed and financed by the United States and Britain. The Ethiopian regime's brutality towards its Somali and Oromo ethnic groups has also been described as genocidal. But because the United States is also deeply complicit in these crimes, there is no threat of prosecution by the Black Agenda Report Editor Glen Ford International Criminal Court.

KPFA: African scholars writing in the African Pambazuka News and Black Star News have sided with Tutu, arguing that despite the court’s obvious bias and imperfection, the threat of indictment and conviction there restrains the violence of African strongmen. And that instead of rejecting the court out of hand, dissidents should demand that it live up to its stated ideals.

For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison.

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