Thursday, October 24, 2013

King's Speech Oops.. the Presidents Speech! Uhuru Kenyatta's Africa Union Speech

President Uhuru Kenyatta's speech delivered in Addis Ababa at the Extra Ordinary Session of the Assemblies of Heads of State and Government of the African Union was a Kantian moment in two instances. First, in terms of his presidency the president came out guns blazing against the West and their ideals of justice. Second, in terms of African Union politics the president has started a discourse that is certainly going to continue in terms of AU engagement with powers outside the continent.

In his speech the president was as blunt as they come and gave a stinging attack to Western Nations.
Some of the snippets from this speech below shows the president has had a change of heart albeit now that he is in power and as such the gloves are now finally off.
First, that world powers were hesitant to a process that might make them accountable for such spectacularly criminal international adventures as the wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and other places, and such hideous enterprises as renditions and torture. Such states did not, therefore, consider such warnings as applicable to pacific and friendly parties.

Secondly, it was the understanding of good-faith subscribers that the ICC would administer and secure justice in a fair, impartial and independent manner and, as an international court, bring accountability to situations and perpetrators everywhere in the world. As well, it was hoped that the ICC would set the highest standards of justice and judicial processes.

This speech represents a defining moment in Uhuru Kenyatta's presidency and as such we could start percing events in Kenya in context of the pre AU convention speech and post AU convention speech. What remain is to see if he will appear at the ICC on November 12, 2013 or he will follow the AU resolution that asked him not to show up at the Hague.

Find the Presidents full speech here

Friday, October 18, 2013

Trial Chamber V(b) conditionally excuses Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta from continuous presence at his trial starting on 12 November 2013

Press Release: 18.10.2013

Situation: The Republic of Kenya
Case: The Prosecutor v. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta

Today, 18 October 2013, Trial Chamber V(b) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its decision conditionally granting, the request to excuse Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta from continuous presence at his trial, scheduled to start on 12 November 2013. The decision was adopted by majority, Presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki dissenting. The Majority however required Mr Kenyatta’s physical presence for the entirety of the following sessions: the opening and closing statements of all parties and participants, hearings when victims present their views and concerns in person, the delivery of judgement in his case and any other attendance ordered by the Chamber. If applicable, Mr Kenyatta is also required to be present during sentencing hearings, the delivery of sentencing, the entirety of victim impact hearings, as well as reparation hearings.

The Majority asserted that violations of any conditions of Mr Kenyatta’s excusal may result in revocation of the partially granted request, and/or the issuance of an arrest warrant, where appropriate.

The Majority reiterated, in a similar vein to Trial Chamber V(A)’s decision of 18 June 2013, which granted Mr Ruto a similar relief, that Mr Kenyatta’s excusal is strictly granted to accommodate the demanding functions of his office as President of Kenya, and not merely to gratify the dignity of his own occupation of that office.  

The Majority also stressed that granting such an exception is motivated in part by not only the need to ensure the fairness and expeditiousness of the trial in full respect to the rights of Mr Kenyatta as an accused, but also, the need for due regard for the protection of victims and witnesses.

Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji appended a separate concurring opinion, and Presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki appended a dissenting opinion.

Mr Kenyatta is charged, as an indirect co-perpetrator, with five counts of crimes against humanity consisting of murder, deportation or forcible transfer, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts allegedly committed during the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007-2008. Charges were confirmed on 23 January 2012, and the case was committed to trial before Trial Chamber V(b).

In the context of the Kenyan situation, two other cases are currently before the ICC: The Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang, and The Prosecutor v. Walter Osapiri Barasa.

On 18 June 2013, Trial Chamber V(a) had, by majority, granted Mr Ruto a conditional excusal from continuous presence at his trial. However, on 20 August 2013, the Appeals Chamber suspended the implementation of this decision, pending a final determination of the matter. The Appeals Chamber will issue its decision in due course.

The International Criminal Court is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stinging Criticism of Kofi Annan by Eric Ngeno - Uhuru Kenyatta's Speech Writer

The gloves are off and in the run up to November 12, 2013, the day President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to appear at the International Criminal Court. The administration seems to take all avenues to prevent such an occurrence. There has been lobbying of African Heads of State through the African Union Forum and I presume there has been other avenues that have been sought [diplomatic or otherwise].

However, as that goes one there seems to be a movement to injure the reputation of Kofi Annan, former UN secretary General and mediator of Post Election Violence in Kenya. Today's opinion piece in the Daily Nation by the President's speech writer is a panacea on what the administration thinks of Kofi Annan. Eric Ngeno goes ahead to call the former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan a conductor of the International Arena.

We wait for the next few days and see the play of action from all quota's.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The World Bank Group Fellowship Program for PhD Students from the Continent

Find full information here

ICC Decision on the Request of the Kenyan Government to Submit Amicus Curiae Observations

Yesterday, 8 October 2013 the Trial Chamber V(a) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a decision on the case The Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang.

Decision on the Request of the Government of Kenya to Submit Amicus Curiae Observations
The Chamber authorises the Government of Kenya to Submit Amicus Curiae Observations in response to the “concern raised by the Court regarding the possible impact of the resolutions made by Kenya's National Assembly and Senate [...] regarding Kenya's withdrawal from the Rome Statute”.
 The Government of Kenya should file its written submissions no later than 16 October 2013 at 16:00. Parties and participants are invited to file their responses to such submissions no later than 18 October 2013 at 16:00.

Context: According to Rule 103(1) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the ICC, at any stage of the proceedings, a Chamber may, if it considers it desirable for the proper determination of the case, invite or grant leave to a State, organization or person to submit, in writing or orally, any observation on any issue that the Chamber deems appropriate.

The Chamber is currently considering the issue of the impact of the debate and resolutions of the Kenyan Parliament regarding Kenya's status as a State Party to the Rome Statute on the safety, physical and psychological well-being of witnesses testifying in the Ruto and Sang case.

Judges have considered that “submissions from the Government of Kenya on these resolutions may be of assistance to the Chamber [… and] desirable for the proper determination of the issues under consideration by the Chamber.” 
 Download Decision on the Request of the Government of Kenya to Submit Amicus Curiae Observations

For more information on this case visit the ICC website

Saturday, October 5, 2013

China, Japan and South Korea in East Africa...

In the recent past there have been a number of events cultural or otherwise in Nairobi by three Asian countries namely; China, Japan and South Korea. 

Whereas China has been very active in the recent past given the Africa onslaught clearly laid out in FOCAC. Other Asian countries seem to be following suit with Japan normally a quiet actor in Kenya staging a number of public events which we're choreographed to mark 50 years of diplomatic relationship with Kenya. One of this events which I attended was the Japanese Drum Festival particulars below;
Japanese Drum ‘Taiko’ Concert: To mark 50th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations, Sept. 17 & 18 2013 @ National TheatreDates: September 17 & 18, 2013
Venue: Kenya National Theatre
Time: Gates Open 5.30 pm for 6 pm
Entry: Free
Occasion: To mark Japan-Kenya 50th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations
During this occasion the new Japanese ambassador to Kenya gave his speech in presence of the Sports, Arts & Culture Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and outlined the mutual relations Japan has enjoyed with Kenya. In his speech the ambassador conveyed the sentiments of current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Embassy staff indicated a number of events at the cultural centre housed within the embassy and a concert at Carnivore. This marks a stack pattern of Japan activities in Nairobi and this can also be viewed also with the summit the Vice President William Ruto attended earlier in the year

South Korea on the other hand has an exhibition running at the National Museum and I was present during the opening where the South Korean Amb. was in attendance and from the government side was a director from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I was surprised to say the least to know that Kenya has a sizeable community of South Koreans living in Kenya. In fact their company Samsung has been making tremendous inroads in the smart phone market. Now days, Samsung phones have become a symbol for middle class Kenyan.
Details of the Exhibition
Eunju's Love & Harmony of Kenya
Opening: September 28, 2013 at 2 pm
Venue: National Museum
Exhibition: Runs Until October 24, 2013 Venue: Ecology Gallery, Nairobi National Museum Entry: Museum Rates Apply
The other notable observation was the appointment of Rufftone [Kenyan gospel musician] as South Korean public diplomat. Then, of course there is the GBS TV which is owned by the Koreans and has been airing Korean Pop Music targeted to young stars.  

Questions am Contending With...
  • Is America checking China Influence in Africa by Using Japan & South Korea?
  • Are we witnessing a resilient Japan under the stewardship of PM Abe [checking the influence of China in the continent]. I contend that Japan was seeking to Challenge China way earlier but the earthquake affected that. Now that the crisis back home is over then we should expect a more proactive actor in Africa.
  • Will this overtures change Kenyan Foreign Policy

A Visual of Politician’s Salaries & Income Inequalities

Info-graph/Visual currently doing the rounds in the social media and micro-blogging site twitter. You will notice Kenya leads in this regards and this info is of no surprise to us. However, the way the info is presented drives the point home. 

Visual Courtesy of Visualizing Impact
A Visual of Politician’s Salaries & Income Inequalities ǀ Courtesy of Visualizing Impact 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mid-Week Shocker: Arrest Warrant Issued for Walter Barasa on Suspicion on Corruptly Influencing Wittnesses

Walter Barasa  | Courtesy of the People News 
Yesterday [Wednesday October 2, 2013] at around mid-day the news of an arrest warrant against Mr. Walter Barasa began to percolate in the dynamic blogosphere and micro-blogging platforms. This was through the unsealing of the arrest warrant that had been issued to Kenya a while back.

This arrest warrant being the first for Kenya and the first in the history of the court for offences of interfering with witnesses is no doubt a game changer. Immediately, folks close to the establishment read malice and posted this comments on social media;
Two weeks ago, Prosecution: "Mr. President your Honours, in the coming days Co-operation will be "tested"....two weeks later...."warrants of arrests issued" is easier to defend a guilty man than an innocent one. The Lubanga case shows that the ICC will stop at nothing; stoop to unimaginable depths while acting against even the Rome Statute, in order to TEST co-operation. - J. Mbiuki - Counsel at the Presidency
Then today came the announcement by the Attorney General Githu Muingai that the arrest warrant would be subjected to the Judicial process which will determine if the state will hand over Mr. Barasa to the ICC. So we are bound for some interesting times ahead.

Listen to the Prosecutor making an announcement that preceded the announcement of issuance of an arrest warrant against Mr. Barasa 
Press Release from ICC 
Press Release: 02.10.2013

Arrest Warrant Unsealed in Kenya situation: Walter Barasa suspected of corruptly influencing witnesses

Situation: The Republic of Kenya
Case: The Prosecutor v. Walter Osapiri Barasa

Today, 2 October 2013, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) unsealed an arrest warrant against Walter Osapiri Barasa, Kenyan citizen, born in 1972. He is charged with several offences against the administration of justice including corruptly influencing or attempting to corruptly influence ICC witnesses. An under seal warrant of arrest was issued against him on 2 August 2013. This is the first case before the ICC where a suspect is charged with an offence against the administration of justice, in accordance with article 70 of the Rome Statute.

Judge Cuno Tarfusser, Single Judge of Pre-Trial Chamber II, considered that the evidence presented by the Prosecutor established reasonable grounds to believe that Walter Barasa is criminally responsible as direct perpetrator for the crime of corruptly influencing or, alternatively, attempting to corruptly influence witnesses by offering to pay them to withdraw as ICC Prosecution witnesses in the context of the Kenyan cases before the ICC. Allegedly, he has been and is still acting in furtherance of a criminal scheme devised by a circle of officials within the Kenyan administration.

Based on the Prosecutor’s evidence, Judge Tarfusser also found that it is necessary to arrest Walter Osapiri Barasa to ensure his appearance at trial, to ensure that he does not obstruct or endanger the investigation or the proceedings, and to prevent him from continuing with the commission of the crime.
The International Criminal Court is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.
Video of  press point by the ICC Prosecutor on the arrest warrant against Walter Barasa
Re-ducted Arrest Warrant against Mr. Barasa  can be found here: Arrest Warrant against Mr. Barasa