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African press review 28 May 2013

More on the International Criminal Court and the Kenyan cases as well as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's threats to close a South Sudan oil pipeline....


The main story in The Standard is headlined "International Criminal Court dismisses claims on Kenyan cases".

The small print explains that the International Criminal Court has dismissed a resolution made by the African Union over the Kenyan cases before the court.

In closing the African Union Summit on Monday, Heads of State objected to ICC trials facing President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

The African leaders said that Kenya has a credible Judiciary capable of hearing and determining the cases impartially and expeditiously.

Contacted by The Standard on Monday, the ICC dismissed the AU resolution. An international court spokesman pointed out that a previous request by the Kenya government to transfer the cases to Nairobi did not convince the Hague judges that Kenya was capable of conducting genuine investigations and prosecutions. The spokesman also made clear that the ICC is an independent and purely judicial institution, and does not react to political statements and resolutions.

The main headline in sister-paper The Daily Nation reads "Take Uhuru, Ruto case back to Kenya, says AU".

African leaders resolved to lobby at the United Nations Security Council level to have the cases facing President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at the International Criminal Court referred back to Kenya.

In its final declaration, the AU Monday said trying the two leaders in a foreign capital poses the risk of destabilising the country and could reverse the reconciliation gains that have been made since the end of post-election violence in 2008.

In a related story, The Nation reports that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has sensationally claimed that there is a plot to detain President Uhuru Kenyatta at The Hague when his trial begins on 9 July.

President Museveni is said to have told heads of state from East and Horn of Africa, meeting under the umbrella of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development at the weekend, that the International Criminal Court is not sincere in its dealings on the Kenyan case.

It was not immediately clear why Museveni made the claims, especially since President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto, have been co-operating with the ICC since they were indicted in 2011. President Kenyatta took office on April 9 and, among other things, promised to respect international laws and clear his name in court.

Back home in Nairobi, The Standard reports that today should see the end of a marathon effort by Members of the Kenyan National Assembly to thwart the independent salaries commission by approving higher pay for themselves.

The headline "MPs vote to increase their salaries" just about says it all.

Dossier: Independence for South Sudan

The story explains that, after agreeing last week not to adjourn sittings until they were sure their fattened package is safe in the bank, the MPs will today pass a hurried report that they believe will legally overturn the pay limits set by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission so they can pocket more money.

MPs are insisting on the National Assembly Remuneration Act so they'll be paid 7,600 euros monthly salary rather than the 4,700 euros stipulated by the salaries commission.

All east African papers carry the news that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir warned on Monday that he will order the flow of oil from South Sudan to be cut off if Juba provides assistance to rebels in South Kordofan and Darfur.

Bashir said he would completely close the pipeline that carries oil from South Sudan to ports on Sudan's Red Sea coast.

The Sudanese president was speaking at a ceremony after the army recaptured Abu Kershola town in South Kordofan, which has been in rebel hands for the past month.

And the police occupation of the Kampala offices of the Ugandan independent Daily Monitor newspaper continues, eight days after officers arrived to search the premises.

The Red Pepper tabloid is also still under police siege as managers there ask the courts to compel the police to vacate its offices.

The Monitor has already obtained a court order to that effect, but it still has the police.

Last week's raids appear to be in reaction to a story published by the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper, concerning a letter written by General David Sejusa, the Coordinator of Ugandan Intelligence Services, alleging that there is a plot to eliminate top government figures who are opposed to the "Muhoozi Project."

The letter claims that those opposed to Brigadier Muhoozi Keinerugaba, the head the Special Forces, taking over as president from his father, Yoweri Museveni, would be assassinated.

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