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At UNSC, No Consensus Where & How to Hear Kenya's ICC Case, "No Respect"

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, May 9 -- Kenya sent a letter to the UN Security Council about the International Criminal Court cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.

  Then Rwanda pushed Kenya's request under Any Other Business on Thursday afternoon, after a meeting about Guinea Bissau.

Hours later, at 7 pm, Rwanda's Eugene Richard Gasana emerged shaking his head. They don't get it, he told Inner City Press exclusively. Africa is angry about this.

Gasana said the opponents did not even want Kenya's Permanent Representative to be able to address the Security Council with this country's request, but instead to refer it to a working group on tribunals.

That's insulting, Gasana said. Numerous other Council members Inner City Press spoke with agreed. But what did the Western permanent members say? Inner City Press asked, but they would not answer, the representative of one of them even saying that "no comment" was "off the record."

These are the same countries which did little in 2009 as Sri Lanka was killed tens of thousands of civilians.

  Later, Inner City Press was exclusively told by other members that while it was Guatemala which proposed that Kenya address the working group rather than the Council, the US -- which is not a member of the ICC -- joined in this.

  Morocco on the other hand said Kenya could be heard first by the Council, which could then refer the issues down to the working group if it saw fit.

  With no consensus, Argentina proposed that Kenya submitted a second letter, asking for a meeting or informal interactive dialogue. Round and round it goes.

  Another complaint arose: that current ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, when she comes to New York, does not even make a courtesy call on the Permanent Representative of Kenya. "No respect," as one Council member put it to Inner City Press.

  Earlier on Thursday Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson:

Inner City Press: I wanted to know if in your discussions with Uhuru Kenyatta, he made a request of the Security Council to have the International Criminal Court (ICC) proceedings deferred for a year, or suspended, and I wanted to know if this was raised in your meeting, or if you have any thoughts on it; they were saying it would be a danger to regional security to continue it.

DSG Jan Eliasson: Thank you very much. The matter was not raised. We are taking the stand that we should be in contact with President Kenyatta. He is a very important actor of course in the African scene; he has just been elected President in Kenya. He is absolutely crucial for developments in Somalia, and it was an important meeting. The ICC aspect we are, of course, completely aware of, but it seems to me that he cooperates fully with the Court, and as long as this cooperation is as good as it is, there are no problems for us to deal with the President of Kenya, and I had a very good meeting with him. [Video here.]

  At the Guinea Bissau meeting that preceded the Kenya session, Brazil's Permanent Representative noted that the UN Office on Drugs and Crime had suspended work in Guinea Bissau a month ago. A UN official, asked by Inner City Press to confirm this, said yes, it is a contradiction. The UN is full of them.

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