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Kenya to reconsider its ICC membership


The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been entangled with threats of key member withdrawals. The most recent one is about Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta who said on Monday that the country will have to think seriously about its membership in the International Criminal Court, signaling another African country may quit the embattled court.

Both Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto faced charges at the ICC over their alleged roles in the deadly inter-ethnic violence after Kenya’s 2007 elections in which about 1,200 people died. Both cases collapsed due to insufficient evidence.

In a televised speech to mark Kenya’s establishment as an independent state, Kenyatta said the ICC had become a “tool of global power politics” and not an institution to dispense international justice.

“We have sought the changes that will align the ICC to respect national sovereignty. Those changes have not been forthcoming. We will therefore need to give serious thought to our membership,” he said.

His announcement put new pressure on the world’s first permanent war crimes court, which has had to fight off allegations of pursuing a neo-colonial agenda in Africa.

South Africa, Burundi and Gambia have officially notified the United Nations of their intent to pull out of the Rome Statute, the 1998 treaty establishing The Hague-based court. Those withdrawals will take effect in 2017.

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