Kenya may reconsider its ICC membership

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Monday the country will have to think seriously about its membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC), signaling another African country may quit the embattled court, Reuters reports.

Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have both faced charges at the ICC over their alleged roles in the deadly inter-ethnic violence after Kenya’s 2007 elections in which about 1,200 people died. Both cases collapsed due to insufficient evidence.

His announcement put new pressure on the world’s first permanent war crimes court, which has had to fight off allegations of pursuing a neo-colonial agenda in Africa.

South Africa, Burundi and Gambia have officially notified the United Nations of their intent to pull out of the Rome Statute, the 1998 treaty establishing The Hague-based court. Those withdrawals will take effect in 2017.

In a televised speech to mark the establishment of Kenya as a republic in 1964, Kenyatta said the ICC had become a “tool of global power politics” and not an institution to dispense international justice.

“We have sought the changes that will align the ICC to respect national sovereignty. Those changes have not been forthcoming. We will therefore need to give serious thought to our membership,” he said.

Kenya’s parliament has already passed two resolutions since 2010 calling for the country to withdrawal from the court.

Kenyatta, who is standing for re-election in elections scheduled for August next year, cautioned against foreign interference, citing unnamed foreign actors whom he said were already bringing money into the country to influence the vote.