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Kenya criticized for backing away from ICC

Sept. 5, 2013 at 11:29 AM

NEW YORK, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- A Kenyan move to stop working with the International Criminal Court does nothing but hurt its long-term reputation on the rule of law, an advocacy group said.

Members of the Jubilee alliance, a coalition of parties loyal to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto, introduced a measure Thursday to end support for the Rome Statute, the treaty creating the ICC.

Kenyatta was elected in March. The president, Ruto and national broadcast director Joshua Arap Sang are suspected of playing a role in post-election violence that left 1,000 people dead in Kenya in 2007. The ICC takes up Ruto's and Sang's case next week. The trial for Kenyatta is scheduled to begin Nov. 12.

The Coalition for the International Criminal Court said Thursday the legislative decision sets a bad example.

"In the long run, the promoters of this action are hurting the reputation of Kenya as a nation that supports international human rights and the rule of law," said coalition Convener William Pace in a statement.

The ICC this week told Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation the decision has no impact on trials already on its books.

"Kenya gains no legal advantage by withdrawing from the ICC," Pace said.

Kenyan leaders said they were following the example set by world powers like the United States and China, which are not parties to the court.

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