Tuesday, 16 April 2013

UN ON KENYA: Officials free to engage ICC suspects

Deputy President William Ruto (left) and President Uhuru Kenyatta at a past function. Photo/FILE  
Deputy President William Ruto (left) and President Uhuru Kenyatta at a past function. Photo/FILE  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KEVIN J. KELLEY in New York
Posted  Tuesday, April 16  2013 at  15:54

The UN has said its officials may interact "without restrictions" with individuals summoned to appear before the International Criminal Court.
This provision in the updated UN policy applies in the cases of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, a US-based international news website reported on Monday.
Foreign Policy website quotes the new guidelines saying: "UN officials may interact without restrictions with persons who are the subject of a summons to appear issued by the ICC and who are cooperating with the ICC."
The UN's policy of unrestricted contact with the Kenyan leaders is consistent with the recent position taken by Human Rights Watch.
"Given their voluntary appearance before the ICC, Human Rights Watch does not oppose diplomatic contacts with Kenyatta and Ruto," the New York-based NGO said on April 9.
In a blog posting by reporter Colum Lynch, the Foreign Policy website says that the UN reaffirms guidelines suggesting that its officials should avoid contact with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir who is wanted for crimes against humanity.
According to the website, the difference between the Kenyan and the Sudan case is that Mr Kenyatta is cooperating with the ICC while Mr Bashir has defied the court's authority.
"The UN policy is crafted to reward suspects who cooperate with the Hague-based tribunal," Foreign Policy observed.
Mr Bashir has been served with arrest warrants by the ICC.
Countries that have signed the ICC treaty are under obligation to arrest Mr Bashir should he enter their jurisdictions.
Mr Kenyatta, on the other hand, has been issued with summons to appear before the Hague-based court.

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