Imenti Central Legislator Gitobu Imanyara has said the move by the African Union to approve amendments to expand the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice in order to facilitate the take-over of cases facing top African leaders at the International Criminal Court (ICC) is doomed to fail.
Speaking during the launch of a toolkit dubbed “Prosecuting Justice for Victims of Post Election Violence-Why the Hague Option” by the International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC), Imanyara said the move to discredit the ICC will fail since Africa is part of the United Nations and nobody was forced to sign the Rome statute.
Imanyara added that Kenya did not only sign the statute on a free will but went further to domesticate it as a framework to deal with human rights violations and impunity.
“Trumpets sounded to tell the world how we in Kenya have finally abandoned the one party institutional framework and structures of governance and embrace international norms,” Imanyara reckoned.
He noted that it was a pity and a sad commentary on Kenya Government that is now actively dismantling the very good legal framework for dealing with impunity arguing that the African leadership doesn’t represent the people of Africa and that’s why they struggle to go back to the law of jungle where accountability lacked, impunity reigned and where leaders are not subjected to the rule of law.
Furthermore, Imanyara said that the toolkit sets into proper context the struggle to accord victims of injustice rights to recognize that victims are as important as innocent and accused persons in terms of the administration of justice.
“Its important to realize that holding public office, complying with chapter six of the Kenya constitution has nothing to do with facing criminal charges in a court of law. Facing criminal charges in a court of law is just one small aspect of the criteria that ii established by the Constitution,” he held.
On this note, he warned those who continue to say they will contest for the presidency despite facing charges at the ICC that the law is not about criminal charges but accountability and they will not succeed in taking the clock back in taking away the gains of the Constitution.
While echoing Imanyara sentiments, ICPC Executive Director Ndung’u Wainaina said the presumption that leaders are immune from prosecution has been eroded and the idea of sovereignty as a barricade against justice has been all but eradicated.
“We are trapped in cycles of violence and impunity because of the brutal pursuit of wealth and power by irresponsible, reckless and careless leaders. These leaders and their diehard supporters must know one thing: whenever you commit crimes you will not be able to rest at ease,” Wainaina warned.
He cautioned that the wheels of justice are long, patient, and once set in motion they are inescapable arguing there is no expiry date for these crimes saying you will eventually be brought to account.