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In UNSC, 8 Block AU-Requested Deferral of Kenya ICC, "Disrespecting Africa"?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 15 -- When the Security Council voted Friday on the African Union's resolution for the UN Security Council to defer the International Criminal Court's Kenya proceedings for a year, the expected happened.

  Eight countries abstained, thereby killing the resolution: the UK, France, US, Australia, South Korea, Argentina, Guatamala and Luxembourg.

  Afterward most of the abstainers insisted they much respect the African Union; several said they didn't think continuing the cases would represent any threat to international peace and security.

  But how, then, is the situation in Haiti a threat to international peace and security, as the Security Council still deems?

  France's Gerard Araud bemoaned the African calling a vote on a resolution when they knew it wouldn't pass. But France had no problem with that on Syria resolutions.

  The mood earlier in the week on the draft was more jocular. On November 12 French Ambassador Araud bantered with a scribe who name-dropped about Iran, then disappeared. During most of the meeting, the stakeout consisted of media from South Africa and Benin, then Al Jazeera. Western wires and one "TV" belatedly showed up -- then tried to ask all the questions.

 An hour and a half, the spin that emerged that was "one member" inside had suggested not putting the draft resolution to a vote, to not "humiliate" the African Union ministers who came, offering instead "a paper" which would refer to the Assembly of State Parties meeting.

  But earlier one of the African sponsors of the draft said this was the last chance, they were going to put it to the vote later this week. They knew the vote count. So what could this offer, called condescending, change?

  Inner City Press on November 11 asked Kenya's Permanent Representative Macharia Kamau about the timing. Thursday or Friday, he replied. "It's sad," he told Inner City Press exclusively, "it's a very simple issue, the Security Council would lose nothing. They'd grant the request of forty nine [heads of state or] the whole of Africa, and be back here in twelve months." He said there might be headlines for one day after such a deferral, calling it "knee jerk."

He contrasted it, "if we'd come here asking for war, or to send a 'war lord' to The Hague, there'd be consensus."

Macharia Kamau paused and said, "The Security Council is not a destination for solutions." He said others would realize that too, whenever they had an issue before the Council.

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