Bots defies AU resolution on Kenyatta
Gaborone ‑ Botswana this past week reiterated its stance against an African Union (AU) resolution that calls for crimes against humanity brought by the ICC against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto to be dropped.
The resolution, tabled by Uganda and seconded by Sudan on behalf of the region in the past weeks, requests that a referral of the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigations and prosecutions in relation to the 2007 post-election violence be handled by the Kenyan courts.
Reports indicate that except Botswana – 53 African heads of state that were in Addis Ababa the past week unanimously supported the petition.
The AU member states urged ICC to let the Kenyan courts deal with the issues emanating from the bouts of post-election violence in Kenya that killed over 1 000 people in 2007-2008.
The AU member states also urged ICC to let the Kenyan courts deal with crimes against humanity charges laid against Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto.
In an interview, Botswana Foreign Affairs Minister Phandu Skelemani accused the AU of politicising a legal matter.
He said the AU is a political body, while the ICC is a legal body. The Minister also accused AU of attempting to be Kenyatta’s lawyer.
“The reason we opposed the resolution was because the AU wanted to mix a political matter with a legal one.
“Kenyatta must bring himself before the ICC and prove that indeed evidence against him is weak,” said the Minister.
The AU has regularly argued the ICC is unfairly targeting Africans and rejects the indictment of sitting presidents.
But Botswana has always maintained the same stance that such leaders should be arraigned before the international court at The Hague.
Some observers have said that Botswana was risking isolating itself from the continent by always opposing a resolution adopted by a consensus.
But Skelemani played down such an observation saying Botswana believes in principles and cannot be coerced to adopt a stance it feels was unprincipled.
The AU has regularly argued that the ICC is unfairly targeting Africans and rejects the indictment of sitting presidents; while Botswana has always maintained the same stance that such leaders should be arraigned before the ICC.
“African leaders have come to a consensus that the process that has been conducted in Africa has a flaw.
“The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity…but now the process has degenerated to some kind of race hunting,” AU Chairman and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was quoted as saying.
The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity… but now the process has degenerated to some kind of race hunting,” he said.
Reports indicate that many African leaders, believe that the ICC deliberately targets Africans, while ignoring war crimes suspects in other parts of the world.
The Hague-based international court; set up in 2002 to try the world's worst crimes, has maintained that it was not targeting Africa as a continent.
It pointed out that four out of eight cases under its investigation in Africa were referred to the court by the countries themselves.