The Obama administration will block any attempts to halt trials of post-election violence masterminds at The Hague, a decision which means government efforts to get the process deferred at the UN are almost certainly doomed to failure.
Outgoing US ambassador Michael Ranneberger told the Sunday Nation Washington would not back any delay of ICC action.
“The American position is that we want the ICC process to proceed expeditiously. We do not want to see the process delayed. We think that carrying through with the trials is absolutely crucial to fighting impunity and to ensuring accountability.”
The US holds veto power in the Security Council and a rejection of the petition by any one of the five permanent members of the Council means the appeal would stand defeated. Highly placed diplomatic sources also indicated that Britain and France were unlikely to support the Kenya bid for deferral.
Mr Ranneberger stopped short of stating that the US would apply its veto power when the deferral request comes up at the UN. But he said the Obama administration wanted The Hague process to continue without interruption.
“We never say in advance what our positions are to be (at the UN) so obviously I can’t say that we will veto. What I would say is that we do not see this effort to seek deferral as positive and we support a continuation of the process and we want to see the process move ahead expeditiously.”
Ranneberger: Let me be very clear. The US supports the ICC process and the reason is simple: There must be accountability for the post-election violence. Terrible crimes were committed, Kenyans deserve justice and it’s gone to the ICC and that process needs to be carried through. Our deputy secretary of state was very clear in his public statements that we support this process.
Q: Kenya is lobbying the permanent members of the UN Security Council, if that is put to the vote, what will be US’s likely position?
A: Nobody in the Security Council ever announces the answer hypothetically. The ICC process is vital to countering impunity and to ensure that type of violence never happens again. One of the biggest problems in Kenya and one of the things that have held this country back for so many years is the culture of impunity. And so these issues simply must be addressed.