ICC: Uhuru’s Anti-Imperialist Rhetoric is Hollow

Uhuru Kenyatta: Should stop empty anti-imperialist rhetoric

Uhuru Kenyatta: Should stop empty anti-imperialist rhetoric

Since he was indicted to face crimes against humanity at the ICC, key suspect, Uhuru Kenyatta, has constantly been exploiting every opportunity to spew strong anti-imperialist rhetoric mainly aimed at British, American and EU imperialism. In his address to the Africa Union, where the toothless institution failed to agree on a mass withdrawal from ICC in support of the two Kenyan indictees, a number of syntactic strings which were weaved into Kenyatta’s speech could wrongfully elevate the ICC indictee to the status of a “revolutionary socialist” who had just come to power after overthrowing the capitalist system ravaging millions of Kenyans on a daily basis. Taken collectively, and from the point of view of Uhuru’s pro-capitalist, pro-rich man background, Uhuru’s latest onslaught on Western imperialism is hollow to say the least.

While probably referring to the current crisis of capitalism internationally which has devastated the economies of Europe and plunged the United States into economic chaos, Uhuru said that “the imperial exploiter crashes into the pits of penury. The arrogant world police is crippled by shambolic domestic dysfunction. These are the spectacles of Western decline we are witnessing today”. And, in what is no doubt a swipe at imperialist past and present exploitation of the ex-colonial world under the neo-colonial arrangement, Uhuru accused imperialist powers of having “drunk out of the poisoned fountain of imperialism”. Specifically, the Kenyan President attacked Western powers for preaching justice to “a people they have disenfranchised, exploited, taxed and brutalised”.

Due to his lack of ideological direction, Uhuru does not probably understand that Imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism, an exploitative system “that crashes into the pits of penury” in Kenya. The President might be clueless about the thieving, arrogant and corrupt Mount Kenya Mafia cartel which is equally “crippled by shambolic domestic dysfunction” thereby exposing the “spectacles” of “decline we are witnessing today” in Kenya.

Surely, the deluded ICC suspect may have been unaware that his ilk (with him at the top) has and continues to drink “out of the poisoned fountain” of capitalism in Kenya. Given the pandemic rigging of election by the Mount Kenya Mafia cartel; the exploitation of millions of Kenyans under the rotten capitalist system; the constant tax hikes on basic consumer commodities and brutalization of civilians by State police with orders to shoot to kill suspected criminals on sight, Uhuru needs to be reminded that his entire Mafia cartel running Kenya is preaching justice to “a people they have disenfranchised, exploited, taxed and brutalized” with meek abandon. The ICC suspect is in no position to deliver lop-sided anti-imperialist tirades when, ideologically speaking, he represents the thieving capitalist vampire class with mouths dripping with innocent blood of millions of Kenyans dying of hunger, treatable diseases, malnutrition, police brutality and other known vices of capitalism.

Obviously, there is no shortage of words, phrases and clauses to warn imperialism to keep off a sovereign Kenya. What is nauseating is to endlessly watch the son of an ex tyrant (whose billionaire mother, Ngina Kenyatta, is on the list of top wealthiest women in Africa) speak about “exploitation and plunder of resources” by imperialism. Have Kenyans and the world forgotten that Uhuru Kenyatta is a beneficiary of a rigged election precisely to evade ICC which he has now converted into a toy to fight the very masters his father collaborated with to plant the seeds of capitalism currently responsible for political and economic crisis in Kenya? Why is Uhuru’s current anti-imperialist talk sheer rhetoric?

Uhuru should attack  Imperialist interests in Kenya
If Uhuru wants to convince Kenyans that he has now turned against the West, then he no doubts needs some education from Kenyan socialists on what he needs to do. Much of the most fertile lands in Kenya is still owned by known agents of British imperialism like the Delemares. To back up his rhetoric about sovereignty, Uhuru needs to nationalize all the so called white highlands that were retained by colonialists who continue to exploit them today at the expense of Kenyan workers who live as squatters in their own country and on starvation wages. The perennial problem of landlessness in Kenya today is partly due to theft of land by both the Kenyatta family on the one hand and British land grabbers on the other. On land grabbing, the Kenyatta family is therefore as guilty as the imperialists!

Secondly, any conscious Kenyan knows that the Kenyan economy is controlled by the British, Americans and the European Union, all currently under attack by Kenyatta. For example, 80% of Kenya’s 45 banks are on the hands of foreigners and therefore, foreigners essentially control Kenya’s financial sector. The biggest Insurance companies in Kenya are foreign owned and the same case applies to majority of the biggest tourist-standard Five Star hotels. It is a well known fact that Europeans own game parks in Kenya where tourists pay them directly to watch wild game or engage in game-hunting. Kenyans are routinely shot to death when they stray into these game reserves and the case of Cholmondley (the grand son of Lord Delemare who has shot two Kenyans to death) is still fresh in the minds of millions of Kenyans. With domestic and International air travel firmly on the hands of “Western imperialism” (including Kenya Airways), the much talked about dollars in the tourist industry are repatriated to Western capitals. Does Uhuru Kenyatta know this?

The biggest companies at the Nairobi Stock Exchange are either Western or controlled by the West through share-holding. The best hospitals in Kenya are private owned (Nairobi Hospital, Aga Khan, MP Shah, Matter et al) and they are either foreign owned or controlled by foreigners. Key distribution Networks (Uchumi, Nakumat et al) are foreign owned. Is it surprising that Westgate, which is still in the news following the terrorist attack, was owned by Israelis whose political and economic interests in Kenya are vast? Who owns Sarit Centre and other key outlets especially in Nairobi?

The point is that Kenya is fundamentally owned by agents of Western imperialism and if Uhuru Kenyatta cannot address the economic epicentre of imperialist’s control of Kenya (as opposed to yapping at rallies and meetings), the President needs to shut up and concentrate on defending himself at the ICC.

Although he is the President, Uhuru Kenyatta and Kenyans currently chest-thumping that the West should leave Kenya alone might not actually understand the extent of imperialist control of the country. The construction industry, the mining industry, manufacturing, horticulture and telecommunication are all on Western hands because they own the controlling shares in companies active in these sectors. Kenya is the biggest exporter of flowers but Western agents own the flower farms in Naivasha, cold storage systems and modes of transportation of flowers to Europe for sale. Kenya produces tea and coffee yet these products are processed in Western capitals because the job of the Kenyan farmer is to produce raw materials.

The crux of the matter is that to move beyond rhetoric, Uhuru Kenyatta has a lot of opportunity of cutting external dependency and internal exploitation by Western imperialism instead of delivering hollow anti-imperialist speeches at podiums. He has the opportunity of striking where it hurts the most but why can’t he dare?

Choices have consequences
Despite Uhuru’s grand-standing, the worst is yet to come after Uhuru evades ICC and is slapped with an arrest warrant. President Obama avoided Uhuru Kenyatta during his recent trip to Africa. Prime Minister David Cameron is keeping the Kenyan President at bay and even Putin avoided him like leprosy. Both the Chines and the AU are cheating the President because as soon as ICC forces Uhuru out of power, the Chines and the AU will begin to work with any new President.

The AU could not help Mohammed Gadhafi who founded and financed the organization. Recently, the Americans entered Libya and picked a top terrorist suspect without the AU uttering a word about Libya’s sovereignty. The French military just walked into Mali (the way you walk into a market) to disable Islamic militants without a word from AU and the same silence ensued after the Americans recently conducted a raid inside Somalia allegedly to arrest a top Al Shabab leader. The AU will not therefore save Uhuru Kenyatta during difficult moments. Instead of issuing empty threats against imperialism, Kenyatta should be preparing to cooperate with ICC. It is his best bet at the moment because “choices have consequences”.

Okoth Osewe

17 comments

  • Ishibobeshi mshakhuluo

    It is very difficult to read such a well challenging artical directed to a Kenyan President Who is cheating ,lying to his people and fooling them. First when you hear Not yet Uhuru that means Our Kenya is still occupied by our former colonial Masters economically Politically and socially.Colonial oppressive laws still valid in Kenya today after 50 years of (uhuru bandia) Kenya is still using very selective laws for the rich and poor. Do you think by educating Kenyans has changed the welbeing in our society. Why has
    Parliamentarians failed to make good laws like their Colonial masters

  • Oppen Society Democracy

    Uhuru Kenyatta Must Prove first to the People of Kenya that he can be trusted by Wakenya;He must start Firing /or Jailing/Put them in Detention the Nis/KDF /CID/ chiefs hence they are the most corrupt security organizations that has failed Kenya for so long!Will Uhuru do that?Can Uhuru Kenyatta deal with corrupt military Generals Who helped him rigg electionto defeat Raila Oginga?
    Can Uhuru Kenya Nationalize both British & American assets in Kenya ?
    Can Uhuru Government cancel

  • Uhururuto aka jubilee are surely creative in inventing enemies for Kenya.
    they follow the script of old.Adolf Hitler excelled in such rhetoric and propaganda in 1933 leading to his rise to power in Germany before plunging the world in second world war.
    saddam hussein did the same in iraq before plunging Iraq in deep abyss of war which quickly got out of his grip leading to death and destruction.
    muamar qaddafi used the same trick for so long before plunging lib ya in dark pit.
    uhuru is reinventing as a nationalist for wrong anti nationalist reasons.
    when kenya need heroes in late 80s,early 90s we never heard from this dye in the capitalists and exploiters and land grabbers.
    it was left to koigi wamwere,raila odinga,james orengo,anyang nyongo ,kiraitu murungi,gitobu imanyara,george anyona,martin shikuku,kenneth matiba,charles rubia,mwachengu mwachofi,chibule wa tsuma,dr mkangi,
    uhuruto were bed fellows with bad government of kanu and attenadant misrule.
    why has uhuru today invented four enemies for kenya for personal survival and self preservation.uhuru rhetoric identifies western imperialism,neo colonialism,icc,and so called terrorism and local surrogates of western counties abroad alliance probably referring to local ngos,political activitists,patriotic kenyans opposed to jubilee leading kenya to decay and abyss.
    uhuru fears the truth and want to fool kenyans that they have enemies which are not true.kenya will go on beyond uhuru and his so called enemies.this are rhetoric of dictator in the making.the language is abusing,undiplomatic and full of hollow high sounding phrases.
    kenya and the world must not be misled that kenya security and peace is at stake and threat to regional peace to justify deferral of on going cases.this must be rejected by britain,france and united states.ngos,cord and patriotic kenyans and africans must petition un security council to reject bid by uhuru fior deferral so that witnesses would die,get killed,disappear and case s frustrated for lack of witnesses and evidence,the way kanu govt used to kill cases in kenyan courts.
    we reject uhurus invented enemies for kenya,

  • Kenyans should wake up & Resist to be led by ICC Indictees!

    Black Kenyans has not the same rights as Asians Europeans or Arabs in this apartheid Uhuru Kenyattas Country. Kenyans feel always like slaves in their country. When Kenyans are Sick they cannot get treatment in European or Asians owned countries, either you are asked to deposit your Land title deed or deposit hence the extortion and profiteering greedy prices set purposely to stop the poor kenyans from accesing treatment in white/Asian segragated areas. This is Kenya of Uhuru& Ruto over 50 years of Not Yet Uhuru in Kenya! I think Kenyan People deserves a better president but not Uhuru Kenyatta and william Ruto. It is a pity to hear there are blind stupid and brainwashed Kenyans who still accept Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto as their President.

  • How do Regime in Kenya treat black Kenyans especially the Poor>Like Dogs suffering with rabies!
    In Kenya it is the worst class-of people in the world-for example >Although Kenya as a country can be said its a huge prison camp !Living in Kenya if you are poor is like living in Hell.
    In Kenya Citizens are classified by their ethnic tribes. there are more than 42 tribes in Kenya each tribe can be classified by their primitivity!If you happen to be a Pokomo/Giriama from the coast you are classified like an animal which should be exploited from generation to generation eg, young men must be hired to be loading& offloading cargo-ships with slave wages less than a dollar. their daughters must be hired in big tourist hotels serving as bed -making and they are exploited sexually by hotel manangers, Owners Rich Police-chiefs and military officer explot these young coast inhabitants sexually this has been going on before independence to this day.
    In fact european dogs or even european stray-dogs are treated better than how kenya treats her poor population. more tourists visited Kenya should write &publish books so that perhaps somebody somewhere should try to change & infruence this evil regime.

  • It now in Public domain how KDF (kenya Army) looted /raped dead bodies /robbed Atm machines got drunk with free whisky/robbed Jewel shops/Iphone shops/Watches then ended in cutting (removing) Video clipps where raping of dead Asian&white women were taken by video > then their corrupt boss denies>Kenya’s army chief has denied his troops were involved in looting during last month’s siege at a Nairobi mall.

    Gen Julius Karangi told a parliamentary committee they had only taken water from a store in the Westgate Mall “to quench their thirst”.

    His remarks come after CCTV footage emerged of troops carrying shopping bags out of the Nakumatt store.

  • Kalenjin are Idiots Kikuyus (Uhuru &Gema has Fixed Mlumbwa to death!Ruto won’t escape Jail no matter what>Kikuyu very Cunning Folks>Ruto and his team are in fact seeing a tough and legally trained witness, carefully selected and thoroughly prepared by the Kibaki-era NSIS machinery and advisors (Iringo, Gitau, Gichangi et al) — to testify against Ruto. In today’s Standard newspaper, Nancy Gitau reveals she was recruited into the Kibaki’s PNU government directly from State House – through former Kibaki-advisor Stanley Murage. She was being recruited from NSAID -where she enjoyed proximal access to virtually all Kenyan NGOs who needed funding from USAID (just about all NGOs for that matter). Nancy Gitau was a big catch by State House – to be used to fix certain political errands! Such as the “fixing” of Ruto.

    As Ruto and his defense currently sit in court, they are seeing some of the yields from the co-opting of NSAID NGO coordinators like Nancy Gitau into State House. The latter has remained in State House after Kenyatta’s transition. Ruto and team are now tormented daily by witnesses hired and trained (by the Kibaki-era PNU think-tank) to nail him. They currently see a witness feigning local traditions and simplicity, yet in reality could be a sophisticated and clever agent. When Ruto’s defense tried to shake off this particular witness with the claim that the Gikuyu in the North Rift equally use derogatory code words against the Kalenjin, she brushed it off for irrelevance – because such usage did not incite mass killings.

    When the tenacious Faal asked him whether he knew of Gikuyus beheading and displaying heads of slaughtered Luos on sticks, at a place called Langas, he inadvertently revealed a big clue. He denied knowledge of the same yet admitted being in knowledge of a meeting between the area chief of Langas with both the Luo and Gikuyu communities in the same locality. Ordinary folks rarely know of scheduled security meetings of the provincial administration. What instantly rings in pondering minds is the possibility that this witness could actually be (/or was) affiliated with security (law enforcement) one way or another. NSI? Provincial Administration?….

    These are the realities of what are going on in court right now.

    Ruto must be wondering…”if the Uhuruto marriage is being taken seriously by the Gikuyu establishment, why didn’t these NSIS-prepared witnesses withdraw like other witnesses were purportedly doing?”

    That’s the elephant currently sitting in the Jubilee tent. Ruto is wondering why anti-Ruto forces of the Kibaki era like Iringo and Nancy Gitau are still having leeway in the budding Uhuruto administration. He secretly knows there is still potent fear of him among these circles — thus the silent assignment to clip his wings despite all his efforts in “putting” Uhuru into power.

    As Ruto sits in court right now, he knows that the tough witness 376 is/was one way or another affiliated with the same government that he is # 2 in. It is therefore not an accident that Ruto’s lawyers a few days ago publicly released “the list” of people he accuses of having “manufactured” evidence against him, then “coached” witnesses to testify against him.

    Ruto went public, accusing Mutea Iringo, Martha Karua, Nancy Gitau, and others he deliberately omitted from the list (such as Michael Gichangi, and Githu Muigai) for plotting to permanently fix him politically.

    Ruto was likely spurred into doing this because he was now directly facing in court, a tough and credible witness. He is probably expecting similar witnesses to come up, witnesses who have been “ generated, processed, and packaged” by the Mt. Kenya establishment; witnesses who may very likely send him to jail and permanently end his political career. He must have also been sending a subtle message to Kenyatta to act — by firing those who sent him to the Hague. What will the latter do? The chicken are slowly coming back home. Those in denial may not see it yet – but it is what it is!

  • Oh My God they Have Fixed Ruto Properly!

    A Govt Thug lying as usual to the world and to the tamed & brainwashed Kenyan Masses of idiot robots>

  • Oh My God they Have Fixed Ruto Properly!

    Here the Tribal Hyena lying devil himself>

  • By ANTHONY GITONGA
    Standard Media Digital News
    Updated Sunday, October 20th 2013 at 20:30 GMT +3

    Residents of a Kinangop village were treated to a bizarre incident when a 65-years-old farmer sold his land, entertained women at his local bar with beer in exchange for an opportunity to fondle their breasts only to mysteriously die in his sleep —that night.

    Strange tales of alcoholism in this area have been told. However, this particular one took the biscuit. The old man sold his piece of land and went to his local to entertain women. After taking one too many, ideas began germinating on his mind.

    Tit for tat being a fair game, he chose to make a simple request to women he was treating; that he fondles their mammary glands.

    Little did he know that he had chewed more than he could bite. Women who had been drinking at his local caused a stampede — as they fell over each other — desperately attempting to have him massage their milk boxes. Broke men — who had limited themselves to cheap liquor and spirits and sharing cigarettes — in the vicinity watched in shock (whilst others salivated in disbelief) as the farmer-turned ‘tycoon’ went about his business.

    A witness told this writer that: “the old man had agreed to exchange a parcel of land with a car plus an extra Sh20,000.” A week later, living high on the hog left him broke. He began searching for someone to buy his car, but only got one with whom they exchanged a motorbike with Sh50,000 to boot.

    It all began as a joke with the old man daring a barmaid to have her breast fondled for Sh1,000. “At first we thought he was kidding and much to our shock, the barmaid — perhaps stone broke — shyly gave in. It all happened to the delight of cheering drunks,” said a patron.

    As she walked away —all giggly, the old man urged her to bring over her colleagues and clarified that he only wanted those with shy breasts.

    Mammary glands

    In a short while, the bar, rarely frequented by women, had tens of them all ready to make a quick buck. The farmer, who had become an overnight celebrity, sampled all the mammary glands as they defended their shameful act.

    “The last time our men touched us was years ago as they are slaves to illicit brews, and where in the world do you get paid Sh1,000 to be fondled!” wondered one of them.

    The craziness went on for a while until the old man got thoroughly drunk that he could not handle more breasts anymore. “Haki ya mungu hata mimi nitauza ile gashau yangu nanifanye kama huyu mwanaume (I swear, I will sell my calf and pull such a stunt),” joked one of the drunkards.

    Died

    The drama was, however, to end on a sour note after the farmer — who had been taken to a friend’s house to sleep — was found died the following morning in unclear circumstances.

    “I think he either drunk too much alcohol, or the excitement of touching too many breasts at the same time excited him to death,” said one of the drunkards.

    As Kinangop tries to come to terms and plan the burial of the farmer, the debate raging on is whether too much money, alcohol and breasts can kill!

    Nyandarua South OCPD, Samson Munyao, confirmed the incident saying investigations are on. But he was, however, coy on the ‘breasts’ bit saying he, too, had heard it, but couldn’t confirm.

  • we said it before and it is now unfolding.ngilu and balala were specially brought into cabinet to rake in big government money through corruption network–land,minerals….it hasn’t been long and you see them deeply immersed in corruption and corrupt deals.they did it in the past and nothing has changed in the so called era of Kenya jubilee..who will talk for our republic again…we don’t have George anyona,mwachofi,koigi,shikuku in parliament and with raila conquered and subdued,Kenya is fast sliding down the drain…

  • George ArapKipyegon

    KDF: Looting – Watergate bags were for water
    Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:13 pm

    Please forgive our KDF. Yes they are seen carrying bags on the camera but in slow sheepish way. They are not carrying huge items which could of more value. I am sure if you ask them why they looted they will tell you others were doing it. It is the same kind of sheep-thinking that used to make me buy the Lotto ticket at work. On my own I don’t believe in gambling or buying any ticket to win anything. But at work, the group, mostly lead by the stupidiest person would ask me to contribute. I would close my eyes and think God awarding the fools, and them enjoying the winnings and laughing at me, then and I would find myself reaching for my purse and taking out five dollars or whatever the amount they were asking for.Only God alone can say “I am” and put a fullstop. The rest of us are because He is: Fr. Wamugunda Having Anal Sex With Martha Karua Ruto’s Fixer!

  • US softens stance on Uhuru

    US SOFTENS STANCE ON UHURU CASE
    Thursday, October 24, 2013 – 00:00 — BY PETER NG’ETICH AND OLIVER MATHENEGE

    THE US is reviewing the issue of President Uhuru Kenyatta being charged at ICC with crimes against humanity. The US assistant Secretary for African Affairs Linda Greenfield said she was aware of the Kenya government’s concerns in regard with Uhuru’s case which is scheduled to start on November 12.

    Speaking via a video link from the US to journalists at the American Embassy in Nairobi, Greenfield said her government was in talks with Uhuru over the ICC issue. “We are aware of Kenyan concerns over the ICC issue and we are in talks with the Kenyan government,” Greenfield said.

    She said though the US wants justice for victims of the 2007/8 violence, Uhuru was voted in democratically during the March 4 general election presenting a rare scenario where a serving head of state was a suspect in an ICC trial. She said the absence of a head of state usually affects a country adding the US would not want Kenya to face such a fate.

    Greenfield said terrorists usually take advantage when there is a power vacuum and said such a situation should not befall Kenya.

    Greenfield’s statement is in total reversal of the hardline stance taken by her predecessor and former US ambassador to Kenya Johnnie Carson who cautioned that the election of Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto would be accompanied with consequences.

    “The choices Kenyans make regarding the March 4 polls have consequences,” he said just prior to the elections adding that national leaders should be and are responsible for their actions, before, during and after the elections.

    The thawing of the US towards the Kenya situation at the ICC comes in the wake of a petition filed yesterday and signed by 40 out of 49 African countries which want the United Nations Security Council to order the ICC to defer the cases against Uhuru and Ruto.

    In their three page petition, the African nations said the proceedings against the two “may pose a threat to the ongoing efforts in the promotion of peace, national healing and reconciliation as well as the rule of law and stability in Kenya and the region.”

    “The proceedings initiated against the President and the Deputy President of Kenya will distract and divert them from fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities, including oversight for national and regional security affairs,”the letter dated October 21 says.

    The African states added that the ongoing cases on the 2008 post-election violence were also a threat to efforts in the promotion of peace, national healing, reconciliation, rule of law and stability in Kenya and the region.

    “Kenya plays an active and critical role in the stability and fight against terrorism at home and in the region, as demonstrated by the tragic even of the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi in September,” the letter reads.

    The ICC was forced to adjourn for a week to allow Ruto to travel back to Kenya in the wake of the Westgate terror attack that left more than 60 people dead.

    The African nations added that Security Council should reciprocate the cooperation that Uhuru and Ruto have had with the ICC by allowing them to run their state duties, uninterrupted.

    “Kenyans democratically elected their leaders in March 2013, and they expect that their leaders will discharge their constitutional responsibilities as elected executive leaders,” the letter reads.

    The letter asks the Security Council to make its decision on the deferral request before November 10 which is two days before the start of Uhuru’s trial se.

    “In this regard, we also request the ICC to postpone the trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta and suspend the proceedings against Deputy President William Ruto until such time as the UN Security Council considers the request for deferral,” the letter said.

    Only nine countries — Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Liberia and Tunisia did not sign the petition.

    In a letter accompanying the AU request, Kenya’s UN Ambassador Macharia Kamau emphasised the danger Kenya and the entire Horn of Africa faces from terrorism.

    The UN charter allows the UNSC to suspend ICC cases for upto a year if it is convinced that allowing such proceedings to continue will present a threat to international peace and security. Kenya has previously requests for a deferral but this has been denied by both the Security Council and the ICC.

    On Friday, the ICC Appeals Chamber will decide whether Ruto’s continued presence throughout the trial was necessary. The trial judges had allowed him to attend only some of the sessions.

  • Politics and ICC

    Africa: ICC – Does Politics Win Over Justice?
    By Gino Vlavonou, 17 October 2013

    opinion

    The fact remains that African nations, which are now unhappy with the International Criminal Court, voluntarily accepted the ICC jurisdiction by ratifying the Rome Statute. And it is not true that the court is targeting Africa. But, yes, it has political weaknesses that need addressing.

    As a result of years of diplomacy and pressure by human rights organisations, the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) finally came alive on 1 July 2002. Created by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the Court is a permanent institution that investigates and prosecutes the authors of serious crimes committed after the entry into force of the Rome Statute and within the scope of its jurisdiction, regardless of the official and hierarchical quality of the person charged.

    This article discusses the interactions between the political and the judicial aspects of the ICC, which is alleged to focus on crimes in Africa and ignore atrocities in other parts of the world. In addition, fearing the instrumentalisation of the Court for political purposes and the spread of complaints against their leaders or military personnel, some states such as the U.S., China and Russia refused to ratify the Rome Statute. Yet these countries are permanent members of the Security Council which has a power of referral and blocking of cases on the ICC, a power that opens a door to interference in the affairs of another state. So far the cases handled by the ICC show that the issue of the exploitation of international justice, for political reasons, is still a major weakness.

    Overall, it seems the Court’s actions in general and in Africa in particular are being hindered by political factors. With the recent vote by parliament to push withdrawal of Kenya from the Court, or the Sudanese president’s stalled prosecution (which country is not member of the Rome statute), the perception of the Court as a western instrument discriminately targeting Africans has been reinforced. In this context the African Union (AU) called an extraordinary session 11-12 October 2013 to address an eventual massive pull-out from the ICC by the 34 African member states [1]. But is it because other suspected criminals are not being prosecuted that the ICC should not look at African cases? Or is this a problem of impartiality? This article will present some of the ICC rules in order to re-focus the debate, discuss the supposed “Africanisation of the Court” and ways forward to bolster its action.

    ICC RULES

    To understand the perceived Africanisation of the Court, below are some quick procedures. To initiate a trial, the ICC can be moved into action by a State which has ratified the Rome Statute, the UNSC or by the prosecutor’s office. However, under the principle of complementarity, States retain principally the responsibility to prosecute suspects for the most serious crimes in their own courts. The ICC has jurisdiction:

    – In case of failure or unwillingness of states. In addition, the Court may exercise its jurisdiction;

    – If the crime is committed in a State Party or a State which accepts the jurisdiction of the Court;

    – If the suspect is a national of a State Party to the ICC or of a State which accepts jurisdiction and

    – If the crimes were committed in circumstances endangering international peace and security. In the latter case, the Security Council may refer a case to the Court under Chapter VII of the UN Charter;

    – The Prosecutor may decide himself also to prosecute a case.

    The ICC Statute cedes to the Security Council a dual role: the power of referral, giving the Court increased competence in these cases, and the suspension of investigations and prosecutions that the Court could be carrying. The UNSC may only refer a matter to the Court in the context of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, that is to say when there is “determined existence of a threat against the peace, breach of the peace and acts of aggression”. This possibility of referral to the Court by the Council has two characteristics: the randomness of its implementation and expansion of powers of the Court to States non-party to the Treaty. But it is true that the referral by the UNSC expands the powers of the Court insofar as it gives it the opportunity to pursue States not part to the Treaty. Indeed, the other modes of referral to the ICC (the self referral by prosecutor of the Court or by a State Party) assume States are party to the Treaty. Through the power of the UNSC, the power of the Court is significant because it provides an opportunity to tackle serious crimes in countries within and outside the Rome Statute within the meaning of Chapter VII.

    Another serious point to look at in those rules is the self-referral power given to the prosecutor. That power could be used to target countries of choice, which is one of the reasons why powerful countries did not come on board. They feared the independence of a prosecutor who could almost single-handedly decide to open an investigation on the basis of politicised complaints. The U.S. was mostly of this opinion. But although the prosecutor can search, gather information and, if there is a reasonable basis to initiate an investigation, request for authorisation of investigation from the Pre-Trial Chamber together with any supporting material collected (article 15, Rome statute), the Pre-trial chamber has the power to authorise or reject an investigation. So the fear that the prosecutor could be the most powerful man on earth by prosecuting whomsoever they want is unjustified.

    It is worth recalling that according to Article 1 of the Rome Statute, the ICC is complementary to national criminal jurisdictions. It is true that the Court has universal jurisdiction but all of the domestic means must have been exhausted before referring a matter to the ICC. The jurisdiction of the Court could be activated in case of incapacity or unwillingness of a State to address the problem. Paragraph 2 of Article 17 of the Statute provides the basis on which the Court may determine the existence of this unwillingness. This could be the manifest purpose of shielding the person concerned from criminal responsibility for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court or undue delay denying intent to bring the person concerned to justice, the lack of independence or impartiality. Regarding the inability of the State concerned, Paragraph 3 refers in particular to the collapse of the whole or a substantial part of the state judiciary system.

    As mentioned before, some permanent members of the UNSC have not ratified the Rome Statute but may refer a situation involving another State not party to the Statute while those members are themselves immune [2]. Nonetheless, the prosecutor still has to examine the admissibility of the case referred to them according to the principle of complementarity (like it has been done for the Sudanese case) and thus protect the Court from any political influence one would think. Therefore this establishes that, despite the influence of the UNSC, if the case referred to the Court by the latter is not eligible, it will not be processed.

    A TALE OF AFRICANISATION

    The ICC is competent for cases with a strong political component as demonstrated by the recent AU meeting calling for withdrawal of African states. As earlier mentioned, ICC will not prosecute cases when the State itself can do it. Moreover, out of the 18 cases currently handled by the ICC, 12 were initiated upon the request of countries concerned, while 6 were referred to by the UN Security Council [3].

    For example, Uganda, in 2003 requested that the ICC look into crimes committed by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda. Cote D’Ivoire, which did not ratify (but signed) the Statute, accepted the Court’s jurisdiction over war crimes committed during the 2011 civil war. Mali’s government in 2012 asked the court to investigate crimes committed during the armed conflict in northern Mali in 2012. So, whether African leaders want to acknowledge it or not, they invited the ICC into Africa. It is then hard to understand that feeling of African states who were the first to call in the ICC to prosecute cases.

    The office of the prosecutor has made public that it is examining at least eight situations on four continents, including Afghanistan, Colombia, the Comoros, Georgia, Guinea, Honduras and South Korea [4]. The situation in Kenya is the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) fifth investigation. On 31 March 2010, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) II authorized the ICC prosecutor to open an investigation into crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Kenya in relation to the post-election violence of 2007-2008. It was the first time that the prosecutor used his “proprio motu” powers to initiate an investigation without first having received a referral from a state party or the UNSC [5].

    For instance, at the recent African Union summit held on May 26-27, the AU’s Assembly adopted a decision requesting the ICC to refer back to Kenya its cases against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto. But it is to be recalled that ICC came in because Kenya failed to put in place a special tribunal to prosecute the cases. In fact, The Waki [6] Commission recommended that a local tribunal investigate and prosecute those suspected of criminal conduct. The Kenyan parliament voted against such a tribunal [7]. Despite being given nearly 18 months to do so, Kenyan authorities declined to initiate any proceedings against the alleged perpetrators of the violence. Special envoy Kofi Annan then handed over a list of six suspects’ names to the ICC.

    Understanding the way the court works, it seems that there are other motives behind the discourse of victimisation of African states. As Simon Allison says, African leaders are interested in immunity [8] more than anything else. The argument of the Court only prosecuting Africans cannot be valid even if that is a fact. The presidents are just protecting themselves but it should not be forgotten that crimes were actually committed in the prosecuted cases.

    AN EFFICIENT AFRICAN COURT

    It is now established that African countries are no longer happy with the ICC even if they invited ICC in first place. But let us remember that the Court exists in the principle of complementarity of national jurisdictions and the Rome Statute has been ratified by 34 of the 54 African countries.

    It is important to think about the Court not in a way of having “negative complementarity”. Indeed, as Max Duplessis (2012) explains, negative complementarity can be understood as “an attempt to undermine the existing work of the ICC through a commitment to an alternative mechanism for dispensing international criminal justice but which stands no realistic chance of providing such justice” [9]. Then, the existence of an effective African Court of Justice and Human rights will help the African continent deal with its matters. In fact, there have been efforts to graft an international criminal chamber to the body of the African Court [10]. In February 2010, the AU Commission began a process to amend the protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to expand this court’s jurisdiction to include international and transnational crimes.

    The resultant draft protocol adds criminal jurisdiction over the international crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as several other crimes such as terrorism, piracy and corruption. This is an ideal goal for the continent which could even fill the impunity gap in some states. Given the fact that only 34 states ratified the Rome statute, an African jurisdiction would have competence over the whole continent. This court would be able to fulfil its obligations and be independently financed so as to prosecute cases and bear the whole implied charges. Though an African court may even less solve than raise issues: effectiveness, fiscal implications, independence, impartiality and competence between that court and the ICC. Max Duplessis’ analysis shows for instance that the ICC’s budget is more than 14 times that of the African Court without a criminal component; and is just about double the entire budget of the AU [11]. So it is likely that many concerns exist about that African Court.

    WAY FORWARD

    There is no doubt that the ICC justice has a politicised nature and, as Phil Clark noted in an interview given to RFI, in some cases, the selective cooperation of some African governments to the ICC is the problem. There are three African governments (Côte d’Ivoire, Uganda and Congo) who used the Court against their opposition. Is it possible that the Court became a political tool used by some governments in Africa to attack opponents and protect their officers [12]? This dimension shows that the ICC is not just a western tool for dominating Africans.

    So the ICC should just pursue the crimes committed by rebels against a government but not those crimes committed by a government. The ICC falls into that political trap of being used to just prosecute rebels. Now the AU seems to protest every time it does not agree with the court. For instance, the AU’s decision not to cooperate with the ICC stems from the UN Security Council’s refusal to defer proceedings in Darfur for the period of one year [13], and now the AU is planning massive withdrawal from the court because of the Kenyan case. Following the recent AU extraordinary summit, there is the need to emphasise that African member states have been using that organisation as a shield not to collaborate fully with the court.

    In fact, on one hand State parties are obliged under the Rome Statute to cooperate fully with the ICC in its investigation and prosecution of crimes within the court’s jurisdiction. On the other, the AU’s Constitutive Act warns that the failure of a member state to comply with its decisions may result in sanctions. Hence, Kenya welcomed the President Bashir in 2010 for the country’s new constitution on the basis of respecting AU’s non-cooperation decision [14].

    By prosecuting perpetrators of crimes, as some states have all the means to do, they prevent the activation of the jurisdiction of the Court. Moreover, the prosecutor’s powers are limited by the need to submit an application for authorisation to investigate to the Pre-Trial Chamber.

    The Court needs to look at the right of veto of the permanent members of the UNSC which can be an obstacle to the referral procedure. Indeed, if one of the “Big Five” decides to protect a country where serious crimes are taking place, the veto could make any referral impossible as it is witnessed in Syria. The UNSC may decide to pass a resolution to freeze the activities of the Court for a period of twelve months, renewable. Cases may be suspended by the UNSC regardless of the methods of referral. In addition, to function fully and effectively, the Court depends on the willingness of states resulting in confidence in this institution, signature and ratification of the Convention.

    It is the Rome Statute itself that gives to the UNSC the power it has. According to Nabil Elaraby (2001), the general umbrella of the council will always go over the cases before the ICC [15] because the crimes falling under the court’s jurisdiction are serious crimes that threaten world peace and security, the area of jurisdiction of the UNSC under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The independence of the Court will actually be guaranteed when its procedures will be free from the political influence of the Security Council, but also be aware of its political instrumentalisation by African governments.

    It should no longer be permitted to use the veto in Security Council on international crimes cases. Though UNSC members really cherish it, the power of the veto should be reduced concerning ICC cases. The case in Syria is not actually prosecuted because of the veto of Russia while human rights violations are being committed. And if the powerful states still fear the court action, they can still argue that their judicial system is still working and that they can take care of their own cases.

    With the growing perception of the court targeting Africa, it is important that the UNSC refers the Syrian case to the court as they did with Sudan. Sudan has not signed the Rome Treaty but President Bashir actually has an international warrant arrest on his head.

    In any case the Court should review its way of functioning because the international community is not ready yet to deal without that court. The only way politics seems to play over the judiciary is through the Security Council’s referral power.

    Gino Vlavonou is Junior Fellow, Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Nairobi Office.

    ENDNOTES

    [1] BBC (2013), African Union summit on ICC pullout over Ruto trial, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24173557, accessed 24 September 2013

    [2] Bourguiba, L. (2008) La Cour pénale internationale: modèles de saisine et limites, Confluences méditerranée, Justice pénale et politique internationale (64), 194 pages.

    [3] Solomon Dersso (2013), The International Criminal Court’s Africa problem,

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/06/201369851918549.html, accessed 24 September2013

    [4] Coalition for the International Criminal Court (2013), Court Developments in Relation to Other Countries http://www.iccnow.org/?mod=developments accessed 24 September 2013

    [5] Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Kenya, http://www.iccnow.org/?mod=kenya accessed 24 September 2013

    [6] Kenyatta and Ruto’s roles in the post-election violence were confirmed by an independent Kenyan investigation led by Kenyan Judge Philip Waki

    [7] Sivu Maqungo (2013), Kenya and the ICC: A tale of three mistakes and the cruellest gamble, ISS today, http://tinyurl.com/ozsa63v, accessed 25 September 2013

    [8] Simon Allison (2013), Daily Maverick, Analysis: In protecting Kenyatta and Ruto, the AU betrays us all, http://tinyurl.com/kyq29oz, accessed 24 September 2013

    [9] Du plessis, M., Louw, A., and Maunganidze, O. (2012), African efforts to close the impunity gap, Lessons for complementarity from national and regional actions, ISS Paper 241 November 2012, available at http://tinyurl.com/lp4gwp9, accessed 24 September 2013

    [10]Ibid

    [11] Du plessis, M. (2012), Implications of the AU Decision to Give the African Court Jurisdiction Over International Crimes, ISS Paper 235 June 2012, available at http://tinyurl.com/n4hpde4, accessed 24 September 2013

    [12] RFI (2013), Rogez, O., Phil Clark: «la CPI a une certaine naïveté politique», http://tinyurl.com/k5b7da2 accessed 25/09/2013

    [13] Du plessis, M. and Gevers, C., (2011), Balancing competing obligations: The Rome Statute and AU decisions, ISS Paper 225, October 2011, available at http://tinyurl.com/mu2qdat, accessed 24 September 2013

    [14]Ibid

    [15] Elaraby, N. (2001). The role of the Security Council and the independence of the international criminal court: some reflections In M. POLITI & G. NESI (Eds.), The rome statute of the international criminal court: a challenge to impunity, Italy.

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