The Multilateralist

Kenyatta headed to London?

Agence France-Presse and the Guardian are reporting that the British government has invited Keynan president–and ICC-indictee–Uhuru Kenyatta to London: Britain has invited Kenya’s new president to London next week in what will be the first trip outside Africa for the leader who is facing an international trial for crimes against humanity, officials said Friday. The ...

Agence France-Presse and the Guardian are reporting that the British government has invited Keynan president–and ICC-indictee–Uhuru Kenyatta to London:

Britain has invited Kenya’s new president to London next week in what will be the first trip outside Africa for the leader who is facing an international trial for crimes against humanity, officials said Friday.

The invitation for Uhuru Kenyatta to attend a conference on Somalia in London on Tuesday — co-hosted by both Britain and Somalia — marks a notable shift in attitude by Britain.

London, like the rest of the European Union and other Western powers, has a policy of only "essential contact" with anyone charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

President Kenyatta, voted into power in March 4 elections, is to go on trial in July at The Hague-based ICC for crimes against humanity related to post-election violence in 2007-2008.

Britain’s high commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner delivered a letter of invitation to Kenyatta when they met on Wednesday, high commission spokesman John Bradshaw said.

At least in formal terms (if often not in practice), the Kenyan government and Kenyatta are cooperating with the court. The invitation is therefore not equivalent to one for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir (who is in open defiance of the court). As Colum Lynch reported in FP, the United Nations recently clarified that its personnel may have a wide range of contact with ICC indictees who are cooperating. But the London invitation is still surprising. It comes shortly after judges rebuked the prosecutor’s office for its handling of certain evidence in the Kenyatta case. Via Reuters:

Judges hearing the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the International Criminal Court have sharply rebuked prosecutors for failing to disclose evidence that could be used in his defense, but stopped short of restarting the trial.

While the reprimand will have no impact on the trial itself, it is a fresh blow to prosecutors who accuse Kenya’s newly-elected president of orchestrating bloody post-election clashes five years ago in which 1,200 people died.

 Twitter: @multilateralist

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola