from Africa in Transition

Kibaki’s Attempt to Defer ICC Cases Fizzles

March 17, 2011

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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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Kenya's President Kibaki arrives at the 16th African Union summit, in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

Kenyan President Mwai Kabaki is pushing back – hard – on the International Criminal Court’s indictment and upcoming trial of six Kenyan political leaders. He sent his vice president, Kalonzo Musyoka, and a team to New York last week to lobby UN Security Council members to defer the current ICC cases related to the 2007-2008 post-election violence.  However, Kabaki’s push back thus far has been unsuccessful. Moreover, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Johnnie Carson suggested that the United States would veto any resolution that would transfer cases from the Hague to national tribunals, as Kabaki’s African Union-endorsed plan entails. Kabaki’s push back seems to me clear evidence that the indictments have hurt him politically and have the potential for further scrambling Kenya’s ethnic politics. After all, two of those indicted by the International Criminal Court, William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta, are popular leaders among their respective ethnic groups and appear to be joining forces ahead of the 2012 general election.

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