On September 25, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta attended the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). While in New York, he garnered support from leaders of Caribbean nations to amend the controversial ICC Rule 68, which allows evidence from witnesses who have passed away, are presumed dead or are unable to testify orally. Kenyatta is seeking to amend the rule to ensure, as was promised when the rule was passed, that it would not be used retroactively. He believes the court ruling on August 19, in which the ICC trial judges decided to allow the prosecution to use recanted witness statements as evidence against Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua Sang, failed to fulfill that promise. Since that time, President Kenyatta has been pushing to amend the ruling and during the UNGA is said to have won support from the Caribbean nations to do so. A vote on the amendments is expected to take place at the ICC Assembly of State Parties in November this year.
In other news, Kenya continues to struggle with inadequate employment opportunities and benefits and heightened anti-terrorism tactics – with teachers striking for five weeks, leaving students across Kenya without schooling, and the Anti Terror Police Unit making arrests almost daily.
Controversy with the International Criminal Court (ICC)
Kenyan news is rife with controversy over both the ICC court case against Deputy President William Ruto and other Kenyan officials. The President is just one of several people who are being accused of fixing witness testimony against Ruto and other prominent officials. The question remains whether the accusations are true, and, if true, what use Kenyatta has for changing the ICC rules.
International Criminal Court. “Rules of Procedure and Evidence.” University of Minnesota Human Rights Library. 2000.
The Associated Press. “Kenya: International Court Seeks Two Suspected of Bribing Witnesses.” The New York Times. September 10, 2015.
PSCU. “President Uhuru Kenyatta Leaves for UN General Assembly Summit in New York.” Standard Digital. September 24, 2015.
Kasami, Dickens. “Uhuru Wins International Support to Amend ICC Rule.” Tuko. September 29, 2015.
PSCU. “Uhuru Jets Back from UN General Assembly.” The Star. October 2, 2015
Leftie, Peter. “Raila Claims Uhuru Used Moses Kuria to Fix Ruto at the ICC.” The Daily Nation. October 6, 2015.
After five weeks of educational paralysis, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet), the country’s two largest teachers’ unions, suspended their strike. This happened just days after a Kenyan Supreme Court decision ordering teachers back to work and giving them 90 days to resolve their dispute.
Wanzala, Ouma and Elvis Ondieke. “Back to Class as Unions Call Off Teachers’ Strike Following Court Order.” The Daily Nation. October 3, 2015.
“Kenya Pupils Return After Teachers Strike Suspended.” BBC. October 5, 2015.
Munguti, Richard. “Teachers to Know the Fate of their Salary Increases on Nov. 6.” The Daily Nation. October 6, 2015.
In an attempt to quell terrorism growth in Kenya, the Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) on Sunday sought court permission to detain twelve Muslim clerics, who were suspected of radicalizing youth in the Mandera area, for fourteen days. On Tuesday, the court granted the ATPU permission to hold the clerics for five days.
Otsialo, Manase. “Mandera Court Grants Orders for Police to detain 12 Muslim Clerics.” The Daily Nation. October 6, 2015
The views expressed by Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Interns are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the IPJ or of the University of San Diego.