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Post by sol_drethedon on Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:21 pm

ICC 'has no legal powers to consider AU plea'
By PETER LEFTIE in Nairobi | Friday, September 20 2013

ICC Second Vice-President Judge Cuno Tarfusser who responded to letter from AU on Kenya cases. PHOTO | FILE.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Presidency has said it has no legal powers to consider an application from the African Union to have the cases facing Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto stopped until its appeal to have the trials moved to Kenya is heard and determined.

In a reply to a letter by the AU, the ICC Presidency said that it lacked legal powers to defer the cases until its application is determined. Such powers, ICC Second Vice-President Judge Cuno Tarfusser said, lay with the judges hearing the cases.

“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,” read a statement from the ICC.

“He 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,” the statement added.

Natural justice

Judge Cuno stressed 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 Court, however, reiterated its full commitment to “friendly and cooperative relations” with the AU.

AU had on September 10 written to the ICC demanding that the cases facing the three Kenyans be halted until its application is heard and determined. The letter was copied to the United Nations Security Council.

“In addition, the prosecution has ignored several procedural requirements having the effect of eroding the principles of natural justice. The court’s attention has been drawn to this aspect on two occasions by its own judges,” read the letter signed by AU Chairperson Hailemariam Desalegn and by AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“This leaves the African Union with no option but to ask that until the request of the AU is considered and clearly responded to, the cases should not proceed.

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