Uhuru cuts off Kenya from Hague Court
Themes of reconciliation and national unity dominated the major rally held by the Jubilee coalition in Nakuru where President Uhuru Kenyatta seemed to slam the door shut on any further cooperation with the International Criminal Court.
The President said no other Kenyan would be tried in The Hague.
“It has been a painful journey for all of us. Many lost life and many properties were destroyed. As leaders, we have said that we will never go back to that route,” said the President. “We would not wish any Kenyan to go through the experience we have had.”
Speaking to thousands of supporters, President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto struck notes of reconciliation, with the President saying he would “extend a hand” to work with the opposition to heal the nation.
But he followed that up with a threat to prosecute anyone inciting the masses.
“Any leader who promotes hatred and violence should know that the full force of the law will be applied without regard to their position,” said Mr Kenyatta.
Speaking in Kiswahili, he declared the five-year relationship with the ICC over.
“That chapter we have closed. We have our own courts, we will sort out our own issues. I don’t want to see any Kenyan going out there again, we are not going back there… that chapter is closed…” said President Kenyatta.
The ICC prosecutor Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has issued warrants against three Kenyans, former journalist Walter Barasa, lawyer Paul Gicheru and Phillip Bett for alleged witness interference.
Kenya is legally bound to cooperate with the ICC as a signatory of the Rome Statute but MPs have been threatening to pull the country out from the ICC. This would not affect the prosecutor’s actions against the trio.
The choice of Nakuru for the rally was laced with symbolism, because it was in that town that the Jubilee coalition was launched in December 2012.
With the cases behind them, the Ocampo Six rode through the town and into the dusty compound across Afraha Stadium, dubbed Afraha Annex, because the stadium was deemed too small for the expected numbers during the thanksgiving prayers.
All the individuals who appeared at The Hague as suspects expressed their gratitude to the Kenyans who prayed for them.
They also thanked their lawyers, their families and the MPs and well-wishers who travelled to The Hague to support them.
President Kenyatta, Mr Ruto and the rest of the politicians vowed that never again would blood be shed and property destroyed because of political competition.