Uhuru Kenyatta says: I can defend myself at the ICC and be Kenyan president

Kenyan presidential candidate and ICC defendant Uhuru Kenyatta has told Al Jazeera that he will continue to appear before the court in the Hague even if he is elected president in the upcoming vote.

Uhuru Kenyatta - Arrives at the  Hague

Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenyatta and his running mate, William Ruto, have been charged with war crimes by the International Court relating to the 2008 post-election violence. Al Jazeera’s Folly Bah Thibault asked Kenyatta how he would defend himself while at the same time running the affairs of the country. Kenyatta said he was confident about the outcome of his trial in the Hague in April.

More than 1300 people were killed in the ethnic violence that followed the disputed vote. Kenyatta says he is innocent and denies any links with the Mungiki sect, one of the key militias involved in some of the most terrible violence.  He also said PM Raila Odinga shares responsibility for the chaos. These are highlights of the Interview:

Kenyatta: “Even as we continue to face these charges we will still continue to appear. The affairs of government…”

Folly Bah Thibault: “But there could be a power vacuum as soon as you are inaugurated if you have to go back and forward to the Hague. Those hearings last months. Uhuru Kenyatta, how are you going to do it?”

UK: “There is absolutely no power vacuum because one thing that people always tend to forget is that Kenya is not a banana republic. Kenya is a country that actually has really firm and clear institutions in place that would allow…

FBT: “For you to shadow between Nairobi and the Hague…”

UK: “And we also are not facing similar charges. We are never there at the same time if at all. So consequently the system and the state will continue to run regardless of the court. The two are not interlinked.

FBT: “If Kenyans vote for you, if they vote you in, will that vindicate you? Would that mean you are innocent?”

Kenyatta: “I am not going to say that it means I am innocent but it will show as we have consistently stated that the charges and how they have been brought about, the Kenyans themselves put to question the charges that have been leveled against us.”

FBT: “If Kenyans vote for you, will that then mean that international justice doesn’t have a purpose anymore?”

UK: “Clearly… I am not saying that international justice doesn’t have a purpose… But if Kenyans do vote for us, it will mean that Kenyans themselves have questioned how and the process that has landed us at the International Criminal Court but that does not mean that we will cease to cooperate because as I have said most importantly we understand and recognize the rule of law and we will continue to cooperate as long as we are signatories to the Rome Statute.”
 
UK: “I was not a candidate for Presidency. William Ruto was not a candidate for Presidency. If today as you are asking me: What will you do? I think one of the principle people you should ask who is responsible for the violence is Raila Odinga who is my current opponent, who was a candidate in 2007. So consequently: You who wants to assume leadership, You who wants to give this country directions, You who is leading a team, ultimately that is where responsibility accounts and matters, so consequently that question should be addressed by the two individuals who were seeking presidency in 2007.”

FBT: “Let me ask you this, Raila Odinga isn’t facing charges at the ICC. Should he? Should he have been on the Ocampo list?

UK: “The question that I was asked by Mister Ocampo when I was at the pre-trial was whether Raila Odinga should face criminal charges in the ICC… I said I am not an investigator, but what I do know is that Raila Odinga has political responsibility for the chaos that occurred in 2007. I stand by that position.” 

Credit: Al-Jazeera English - The full interviews will run on Al Jazeera English at the following times:

Tue 22/1 16h30G
Wed 23/1 11h30G
Thu 24/1 03h30G
Fri 25/1 07h30G

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