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Rob Macaire

High Commissioner to Kenya, Nairobi
Posted 31 August 2010 by Rob Macaire | Comments
It's difficult not to blog about the events of last Friday, that chilly but moving day when we sat in Uhuru Park and watched the promulgation of Kenya's new constitution.  Particularly as the British High Commissioner to Kenya, given the history of our two countries, I felt privileged to be a part of the celebration of a key moment in constitutional history.  Saying goodbye to the much-amended Independence constitution of 1963, Kenyans have voted for (and participated in the making of) a law that massively strengthens the human and civil rights of citizens, brings in separation of powers, and paves the way for far-reaching reforms.  Of course, a law is just a law, and there are huge challenges ahead in implementing it.  But a day to be savoured, and I felt honoured to be part of it.  The British Government was one of the first to congratulate Kenya
What a shame, therefore, that the world's attention was drawn away from celebrating Kenya's achievement, to shock at the unannounced arrival of President Bashir of Sudan to the event.  As the vast majority of Kenyan commentators have pointed out (Nation and Standard Monday), on a day that should have marked an advance for human rights and the rule of law, the opposite signal was sent by the presence of an individual indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity and for genocide.  As Kenya is State Party to the Rome Statute, it is legally bound to arrest and surrender those with an ICC arrest warrant against them.   Most African countries have therefore declined to invite President Bashir onto their territory.  For a state that follows the rule of law, no political position by the AU, or regional realpolitik, should overcome that basic legal obligation.  And it is deeply troubling that such a decision should have apparently been made by a minority of Ministers within the coalition government

Rob Macaire
31 August 2010

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