The mystery on a letter petitioning the United Nations to terminate the ICC charges facing President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto threatens to be the biggest test to face their Jubilee government.
The chief government legal adviser could neither deny nor confirm if the President was aware of the letter.
Said Attorney-General Githu Muigai: “We were not aware the letter had been written… we have been pursuing the case with the court and worked closely with the president of the court, the registrar and the prosecutor.”
Multiple sources told Saturday Nation the letter by Kenya’s ambassador to UN Macharia Kamau on May 2 was traced to senior civil servants in the Kibaki administration.
Last evening, questions were still lingering on who authorised Mr Kamau to write the letter and whether Mr Ruto’s denouncement signified a split between the two men over the strategy of handling the cases facing them at the International Criminal Court.
While Mr Ruto has unequivocally denounced the petition through lawyer Karim Khan, President Kenyatta had not commented on the matter as we went to press.
Prof Muigai said the government wanted the matter settled expeditiously by the court, but added that ambassadors had an independent mandate.
“The government applied to co-operate with the court and we were granted. In pursuit of this, a high powered government delegation will be at The Hague next Wednesday to meet court officials,” he disclosed.
On Wednesday, a letter sent by Mr Kamau to the Security Council became subject of debate with Rwanda’s amabassador to the UN accusing the International Criminal Court of bias in execution of its mandate.
The strongly worded 13-page letter was circulated among members of the United Nations Security Council ahead of the visit by the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who was before the Council to brief it on a Libyan case.
“We thus ask the UN Security Council to take the much-needed political stance that Kenya must be given the time and opportunity to apply the principle of pre-eminence of national courts. The security council has a duty and obligation to assist Kenya overcome this serious politically sensitive and potentially destabilising and disabling situation,” the letter said. It then concluded that the Kenyan delegation was not asking for a deferral, but the immediate termination of the case at The Hague.
Saturday Nation has learnt that Ms Bensouda did not meet the Security Council to talk about the Kenyan cases but was briefing the Council on the Libyan case when an impromptu exchange on Kenya came up from Rwanda’s intervention.
Rwandan envoy Eugene-Richard Gasana had remarked on Wednesday’s Council meeting that the letter made “a compelling case against the methods of work of the office of the prosecutor on the Kenyan cases.”
He accused the ICC of being “selective in its methods of investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of serious international crimes as it has failed to prosecute similar crimes committed in other parts of the world.”
Sources told Saturday Nation that Mr Khan on Thursday called Mr Ruto and advised him that the petition could be injurious to their cases.
“It was then that the Deputy President okayed him to send out the denouncement distancing himself from the letter,” said an MP, a close ally of Mr Ruto.
Mr Khan said: “I have spoken to my client, Mr William Ruto, and I can confirm and he has made it clear that he was not consulted on anything to do with New York. A letter being circulated is not government policy,” Mr Khan said in a telephone interview.”
He said that Mr Ruto believes in the rule of law and in Kenya observing its international obligations.