Kenya has promised the African Union that it will formally sign to creation of Africa’s version of the International Criminal Court within two months.
During a meeting of African foreign ministers of ICC member states at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa last week, outgoing Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed committed that Kenya will ratify the Malabo protocol on the court before March 25.
The protocol agreed at Equatorial Guinea’s capital of Malabo on June 24 last year meant to merge the African Court of Justice and African Court on Human and People’s Rights into one court capable of trying the same crimes prosecuted at the ICC.
Kenya, alongside nine other countries, signed the intention to approve the court.
In the whole of 2017, only one country - Uganda - signed up to the establishment of the court. The protocol needs a threshold of 15 country signatures to gain legal traction. “Hon Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya, reiterated her country’s commitment to ratifying the Malabo Protocol within the next two (2) months, as the first country to have signed it,” minutes of the meeting exclusively obtained by the Saturday Standard say.
The ministers were concerned that failure to sign up to the court was undermining the credibility of the AU and its member states in their commitment to fight against impunity on the continent.
They also wanted the AU to look into the possibility of extending the jurisdiction of the existing African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to try international crimes, pending the entry into force of the Malabo Protocol.
The ministers agreed on a “plan of action” to accelerate the realisation of the court.
On January 2015, Kenya pledged Sh100 million towards the creation of the court agreed in Malabo.
Kenya was also the first country to express intent of joining the court.
“I urge you brothers and sisters to join me in ensuring that the necessary ratifications are in place and that the resulting court is fully owned, financed and driven by Africa. This is an urgent and historic task that cannot wait,” said President Kenyatta said at the time.