"It is important that the country's national interests as well as the wider interests of the region that we live in are taken into account in matters of this nature," Wetang'ula said.
Foreign Affairs to appeal Al Bashir Ruling
Nairobi: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said it may appeal against the High Court ruling that on Monday issued a warrant of arrest against President Omar Bashir, hours after Sudan expelled Kenya's ambassador and recalled its envoy in Nairobi. "Since our judicial system provides for right of appeal, we shall carefully look at the judgment with a view to requesting the Attorney General to expeditiously prefer an appeal in the matter," Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetang'ula said in a statement.
Sudan took the drastic steps following High Court Judge Nicholas Ombija requiring the Attorney General to arrest Bashir should he step in Kenya. The judge so ruled over an application by the International Commission of Jurists Kenya which said Kenya had failed to execute an International Criminal Court arrest warrant against Bashir when he came to Nairobi for the promulgation of the constitution on August 27, 2010.
The ICJ argued that was in breach of Kenya's obligations as a signatory to the Rome statute. Sudan yesterday expelled ambassador Robert Mutua from Khartoum and recalled its ambassador Kamal Ismail Saeed. In Parliament, Kirinyaga Central MP Joseph Gitari sought a ministerial statement from Wetang'ula and asked if Kenyans in Sudan were safe and their jobs secure.
Gitari wanted to know if the government would still be able to have bilateral or regional talks with Sudan. Transport minister Amos Kimunya undertook to deliver the message to Wetang'ula as he was not in Parliament.
Wetang'ula yesterday accused the court of acting as if it operated in a vacuum. "It is important that the country's national interests as well as the wider interests of the region that we live in are taken into account in matters of this nature," Wetang'ula said.
The Sudan government in a statement regretted the High Court ruling and said it could not accept the interference of an "international NGO" (the ICC) in relations between the two countries. "Sudan is one of the earliest countries that established strong relations with Kenya since its independence.
Both countries maintain and preserve cordial relations throughout that period. The court's ruling of yesterday was a serious damage to the bilateral relations between the two countries," read the statement. "Based on the above, the Sudan Government has recalled its Ambassador in Nairobi for consultations and requested the Kenyan Ambassador to Khartoum to leave the country within 72 hours," added the statement.
A senior official at the Sudan embassy in Nairobi said they were very upset by the court ruling and the Kenyan political leadership should rectify the situation. "Due to the political nature of the International Criminal Court process in the Sudan file, the African Union member countries have agreed not to cooperate with the ICC and all African countries should abide by that resolution," the official said.
He said the decision to recall both ambassadors would allow both countries to deliberate the situation. "We think the decision is more likely associated with the internal Kenyan differences on dealing with the International Criminal Court than with the Sudanese affair," said Sudan Foreign Affairs spokesman Al-Obaid Ahmed Murawih. "The bilateral ties are deeply-rooted and are governed by the charter of the African Union. We are waiting for the outcome of the contacts between Khartoum and Nairobi," Murawih said at a news conference in Khartoum.
Muslims at the Coast said Kenya was courting trouble with her neighbours when it is at war with al Shabaab in Somalia. The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya secretary general Sheikh Mohamed Dor said Kenya should concentrate on its own issues instead of "meddling" in the affairs of others. "We have tonnes of cases on human rights abuse in Kenya that are waiting to be dealt with. But our judiciary finds it well to involve itself in matters that might spoil our country's co-existence with her neighbours," said Sheikh Dor.
The Kenya Muslims National Advisory Council national chairman Sheikh Juma Ngao said the cordial relations between Kenya and Sudan should not be spoilt by a few individuals. He said the ICC had always been against African heads of state. "We are calling on the Chief Justice to review this ruling before it is too late. We want peace between us and our neighbours," said Sheikh Ngao. Sheikh Dor and Sheikh Ngao said Kenya "will suffer if it continues allowing itself to be used by the West".