The Assembly of State Parties amends ICC rules (Nov 29, 2013)
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto will not be required to be physically present at the ICC but can be represented by counsel after the Assembly of States Parties which oversees the administration of the International Criminal Court amended the rules of the Court. The amendment was one of three changes the Assembly of State Parties agreed during its 12th session at The Hague which ended Thursday (November 28). The ASP allowed an amendment to Rule 68 which deals with the issue of prior recorded evidence; and Rule 100 has been replaced by a new rule to allow a change of venue for the trial. The Assembly also accepted changes to rule 134 (4) which will now allow President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto to be represented by their lawyers. The new rule acknowledges that the President and Deputy President are duly elected by the Kenyan people and have a mandate to govern even while meeting their obligations to the court. This means lawyers can now file a fresh application for excusal according to this amendment. Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Amina Mohamed, said “We have achieved a fundamental change in how the ICC functions.” She told journalists that the Kenyan team came to The Hague with important goals “and we are glad to announce that we have achieved both.” She said that the ICC had always argued that the accused person must be physically present throughout the trial: “We now have a new rule that says that is in fact not the case.” The Cabinet Secretary also said Kenya had “a mandate from the AU pursuant to its resolution that no sitting heads of state or government, their deputies or people mandated to hold such offices may appear before the ICC or indeed any other court while they remain in office.” She said Kenya has also now given notice to the UN Secretary General on immunities of heads of state and government under Article 27. She said she expected a meeting on this to be convened after the 90-day notice period expires in the first quarter of next year.
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