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On AU Bid For ICC Deferral on Kenya, Ban's Maged Made No Calls

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 23 -- Before the African Union summit which gave rise to, as Inner City Press published in full yesterday, an AU request to the UN Security Council to defer the International Criminal Court's Kenya case, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and others made calls to AU heads of state.

  Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky about the calls on October 14. Nesirky replied, "I can tell you that a number of telephone calls were made, and not just by the Secretary-General."

  On October 23, the day after publishing the full text of the AU letter (here), Inner City Press asked Ban's Special Adviser on Africa Maged Abdelaziz (formerly Egypt's Ambassador to the UN) about the calls, and whether he made any of this.

  He said he had not made any of the calls, but that he was aware of them. He told Inner City Press that five AU heads of state will travel to The Hague and to New York. He said the AU is not "against" the ICC, but when there are failures to respond to AU requests, the issue of targeting arises.

  Before the AU and Kenya letters were filed, French Ambassador Gerard Araud told Inner City Press he thought the ICC ruling that President Kenyatta would not have to be "continuous present" during this case meant the Security Council would not have to get to the issue of deferral.

  Now the request is filed, but Western media are quoting unnamed Western diplomats that the request will not be granted. At the US State Department briefing on October 23, deputy spokesperson Marie Harf was asked about the request and said it is being studied.

  Someone will have to go on the record. As to the AU letter, Inner City Press asked an African mission to the UN and was told that the lack of some signatures (Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde and Cameroon) is "not an issue," and was reminded that there are only 49 signature lines because the follow countries are, for now, suspended: Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Sao Tome & Principe, Central African Republic (see Araud, above) and Egypt (see Maged Abdelaziz, above).

  Forty five signatures, including ICC backers Cote d'Ivoire and Botswana, for example, are a lot. Now what is the Security Council's response? Watch this site.


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