Africa renews push for closing of case against Ruto

The African Union will for a second time push for the termination or suspension of Deputy President William Ruto’s case.

The union, according to a letter drafted by AU’s acting Chairperson Erastus Mwencha, also wants the case against Sudan President Omar Al Bashir dropped.

The AU assembly had in June last year agreed on pushing for termination of the two cases. The letter to UN Security Council President Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreño seeks for an audience come March. This is a clear indicator that the AU will not relent in its call that a sitting Head of State should be exempted from litigation at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“ ... The assembly, among others, reiterated its request for suspension of the proceedings against President Omar Al Bashir and urged the United Security Council to withdraw the referral case in Sudan as well as termination or suspension of the proceedings against Deputy President William Samoei Ruto of Kenya until Africa’s concerns and proposals for amendments to the Rome Statute of the ICC are considered,” the letter seen by The Standard partly reads.

The requests by AU’s ministerial committee, according to the letter, were either ignored or rejected when they were tabled before the 15-member UN Security Council. Mwencha said the AU wants to air its concerns on the court in the coming meeting.

The union had tabled a resolution to stay the trials of the leaders, but failed to get the necessary nine ‘yes’ votes required for it to be passed.

Walk out

Seven members, including Russia and China, voted for a draft resolution approving the move, while eight member countries, including France, the US and Britain, abstained.

Resolutions require nine votes in favour and no vetoes by any of the five permanent council members for them to be approved.

The push comes after AU decided to have a mass walk out from the Assembly of State Parties agreement which had bound them to the Hague based court.

The committee led by Ethiopia Foreign Affairs Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will also report on the relations between ICC and Africa and the way forward. AU leaders resolved to draft a strategy of “collective withdrawal” from the ICC.

The AU chairman in his letter termed the cases before the ICC as unending distractions to African heads who are dealing with African problems.