Jubilee leaders slam ICC over gag order on prayer meetings

Senate Majority leader Kithure Kindiki
Senate Majority leader Kithure Kindiki

Jubilee leaders have lashed at the International Criminal Court (ICC) following last Friday’s warning to stop commenting on the cases facing Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Arap Sang.

In one of the harshest criticism of the court yet, leaders attending a prayer rally in Narok County questioned the motive behind the warning and accused ICC of operating with impunity and in disregard of the Rome Statute.

In his pronouncement on Friday, ICC Judge Osuji said: “A stiff warning to politicians to stop intimidating the court during the so-called prayer rallies.”

The meeting by Jubilee leaders comes three days after the order with the Jubilee brigade thronging Suswa in Narok County.

The leaders saw ICC’s ruling an attempt to muzzle free expression on the case facing deputy Ruto and Sang, with National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale saying the international court cannot intimidate Kenyans.

“I want to tell Osuji that he cannot intimidate us because Kenya is a sovereign state,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kithiki stated: “We cannot be gagged by the ICC, we cannot be intimidated and we shall always point out the inconsistencies in the case without fail.”

The prayer rally was the sixth that the Jubilee coalition has held in a bid to ‘save’ Ruto from the ICC.

Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau also weighed in on the matter saying the statement by the trial chamber was a gross violation of the basic values of the Rome Statute and fundamental principles of international law.

The leaders hit out at the ICC for issuing the warning without consulting any of the interested parties with their argument, further touching on the court’s decision to admit testimonies of five witnesses who had recanted their evidence.

The admission of the recanted evidence has caught the interest of the African Union who requested to join the case as friend of the court, a request that was granted.

The leaders argued that the court has been running in an opaque manner and with impunity, saying they will continue with the rallies no matter the implications.

“Who is ICC and who made the application to them. This is a form of dictatorship which will not be allowed,” said Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria who sparked the debate of bribery and procurement of fake witnesses has already recorded a statement with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations over his utterances.

Kuria has maintained that the witnesses being used by the ICC in the cases against Ruto and Sang were adopted from the Waki and Krieger reports, stating that ICC should have carried out its own investigations.

Elsewhere, Human Rights activist Ken Wafula, who has been a strong proponent of the ICC route has now changed tune.

Wafula is now asking that the case be dropped on the grounds that witnesses have been discredited.

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Story By Alex Kubasu
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