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A diplomatic fallout is looming between Kenya and the UK, its biggest trading ally, following a failed bid to have crimes against humanity charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto deferred.
The ruling Jubilee Coalition on Wednesday threatened to sever links with Britain in retaliation to the UN Security Council member’s decision last week to abstain instead of voting in favour of the deferment.
Majority leader Aden Duale said the coalition would lobby Mr Kenyatta to withdraw Kenya’s membership from the Commonwealth, a body he described as “a club of colonialists.”
He also said MPs would demand that Britain pulls out its soldiers involved in joint military operations in Kenya because the country had joined other members of the UNSC in arriving at the decision that “there is no threat to security in Kenya and in the region to warrant the deferral of Kenyan cases at the ICC.”
“Britain, France and Germany finance 75 per cent of the ICC budget. We have scripts of informal meetings of the five security council members who chose to abstain from voting. The scripts were the same for Luxemburg, the US, Germany, France and Britain,” Mr Duale said.
He accused Britain, the US and France of betraying Kenya’s request for the deferral of the cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
He also accused Britain of seeking to remove the African Union agenda from the ongoing Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute which seeks to confer sitting Heads of State immunity from prosecution.
Mr Duale said he had information implicating Britain over the Kenyan cases and cited similar ones tabled in the 10th Parliament where the British government, through its foreign and Commonwealth offices, was instrumental in ensuring that Kenyan leaders face trial at the Hague.
Mr Duale also read mischief in Britain’s belated attempt to sponsor an agenda that, if passed by the 122-member Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute, would enable Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto to attend trial via video link.
“We didn’t ask Britain to ask for video link for us. They never consulted the President, Deputy President or Parliament to sponsor the agenda for us. This is a scheme with sinister intentions,” he said.
A motion to discuss the conduct of Britain in Parliament on Wednesday was shelved pending the outcome of the Assembly of State Parties which had reinstated an AU amendment to shield sitting presidents from prosecution.
Mr Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang will return to the Hague-based court next week while Mr Kenyatta’s trial is scheduled to start on February 5, 2014.
The three are facing crimes against humanity charges arising from the 2007/08 post-election violence in which 1,100 Kenyans were killed.
– Business Daily