“It is principally for this reason – a desire to reduce disruption and the strain of a criminal trial – that Ambassador Muthaura would continue to prefer that this trial before ICC takes place in Kenya or in Arusha,” his lead counsel Karim Khan submitted.
On behalf of Uhuru, Queen’s Counsel Steven Kay submitted: “The defence requests the trial to be held in Kenya for reasons of judicial economy and to ensure the judicial process takes place within the territory affected.”
Muthaura requested that the governments of Kenya and Tanzania be invited to address it on the feasibility and willingness of hosting the ICC. Judges of ICC’s Trial Chamber V are yet to rule on the requests.
The AU meeting comes after President Kibaki told Parliament in April that the Government is still exploring a local mechanism to try the post-election violence suspects.
It also follows an earlier resolution by the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala), sitting in Nairobi, to have the Kenya cases transferred to the East African Court of Justice.
A draft agenda for the AU assembly includes “consideration of legal instruments as recommended by the Executive Council and Ministers of Justice and Attorney Generals”.
Also listed is the consideration of the draft African Union model national law on universal jurisdiction over International Crimes and draft Protocol on the African Court of Justice and Human Rights.
The AU seeks to expand jurisdiction of African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights so that it can deal with international crimes, which are currently exclusively left to The Hague court.
The African Court of Justice handles civil matters particularly with regards to the protection of human rights and consolidation of good governance.
Also in the agenda is the appointment of three Judges of The African Court on Human and People’s Rights.
A meeting of the permanent representatives committee starts on Monday ahead of the two-day assembly attended by Heads of State, which itself begins next Sunday during which the key decisions would be ratified.
Some 40 African civil society groups have opposed the proposal to expand the jurisdiction of the African Court to cover international crimes, which they view as setting the stage for a mass pull out from the ICC by African nations.
“If the African Court’s jurisdiction is expanded, African ICC states parties may face duplicative or competing obligations between the African Court and the ICC, including in resource and co-operation requests,” read their statement.