The Second Vice-President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Cuno Tarfusser, has responded, on behalf of the ICC President, Judge Sang-Hyun Song, to a letter from the African Union (AU) which raised issues on the ongoing ICC proceedings against the Kenyan President, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, and his deputy, Mr. William Ruto.
The letter was from the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, and the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, PANA reported, quoting a statement from the court.
President Kenyatta and deputy Ruto are charged with crimes against humanity for crimes allegedly committed in Kenya in the 2007-2008 post-election violence.
The ICC, in the statement sent to PANA in New York on Friday, stated: ‘The Second Vice-President clarified that the Presidency has no legal powers to consider arguments and concerns related to ongoing cases, and that such matters should be raised before the relevant Chambers in accordance with the Rome Statute and the ICC’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence’.
It also noted, in response to a reference made in the letter from the African Union, that there are no pending requests before the ICC for the deferral of Kenya-related cases to Kenyan judicial institutions.
It quoted the ICC V-P as stressing that ‘the Judges of the Court must take all their decisions in accordance with the mandate and legal framework established by the States that created the Court, including the 34 African States that are party to the Rome Statute’.
The statement also said: ‘The Second Vice-President added that the Court remained fully committed to friendly and cooperative relations with the African Union in the spirit of the AU’s and ICC’s shared values’.
PANA learnt that both the AU and the ICC have copied their letters to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as to African leaders.