Civil society organisations from Africa, led by the Kenyan coalition, last week put brakes on attempts to turn the ongoing Assembly of State Parties into an appeal chamber for decisions made at the International Criminal Court.
“This Assembly must speak out clearly in defense of the independence of the Court,” said Gladwell Otieno of Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice. “Cases being tried by the court must be tried in the courtroom, not in the corridors of the ASP,” she said in reaction to attempts by Kenya to waive the application of a rule allowing the use of recanted evidence in the ICC case against William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang, Kenya had additionally sought to suspend the Ruto-Sang trial until after an audit it was seeking into the procurement of prosecution witnesses.
Kenya had recruited South Africa in its attempt to debate matters being tried in court, and the latter presented its own request for the ASP to look into its cooperation record after the court cited it for failing to arrest Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir when he attended an African Union Summit in Johannesburg this year.
Amnesty International opposed South Africa’s request, saying the matter was being deliberated on by judges at the ICC.
The Kenya Government had fought for over a month to place the two issues on the ASP agenda but its victory this week also signaled its defeat. States around the world, including those from Africa, spoke firmly against interfering in the court’s work.