UNSC fails to delay trials of Kenyan leaders

    By IANS,

    United Nations: The UN Security Council Friday failed to adopt a draft resolution co-sponsored by African countries on deferring the International Criminal Court (ICC) proceedings against Kenyan leaders.

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    In a vote at the 15-member council, seven members, including Russia and China, supported the draft resolution, while the eight others, including Britain, France and the US, abstained, Xinhua reported.

    To be adopted, a security council resolution needs nine votes in favour, with no veto from any of the five permanent members — Britain, Russia, China, France and the US.

    Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, face the ICC trial for their alleged roles in murders, deportation or forcible transfer of population, and persecution during Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence. Both have denied the charges.

    On Oct 31, the ICC postponed the trial of Kenyatta to Feb 5, 2014. However, African countries have called for the ICC proceedings against the Kenyan leaders to be deferred for one year.

    Under the Roman Statute, an international treaty that established the ICC, the council has the right to defer ICC cases.

    African countries had wanted the UNSC to use such power to suspend the Kenya case, which they believe could be a “threat to peace”. They also sent a high-level contact group to New York, where the UN headquarters are located, to approach UNSC members on the issue.

    In the draft resolution, African countries said the case is “distracting and preventing” Kenyatta and Ruto from fulfilling their constitutional duties.