France regrets that we were drawn today into a vote whose outcome was known in advance. We regret it all the more so because it was unnecessary.
The Security Council met with the Contact Group of the African Union, and that exchange enabled us to reach an agreement on principle with respect to Kenya’s role in ensuring regional stability and on the need to find common solutions to the legitimate concerns of the African Union with a view to allowing President Kenyatta to fulfil the obligations entrusted to him by the Kenyan people following the March 2013 elections. Our disagreement, therefore, resided not on our shared goal but on the way to reach it. A majority of the Council’s member States believed that suspending the judicial proceedings by involving article 16 of the Rome Statute was neither applicable nor necessary and that other solutions were available. For France, the meeting was a launching point to define these shared, pragmatic solutions in the spirit of the customary working relations between the Security Council and the African Union.
Those solutions are within reach.
The Kenyan lawyers themselves have demonstrated the way by filing procedural motions at the Court, which recommended various relaxations of the proceedings and a deferment of the actual case.
The Court itself showed the way by adopting several decisions taking into account the need for the Kenyan authorities to shoulder their responsibilities in a process of alternation that would guarantee that neither the President nor the Deputy President would ever both be absent simultaneously from Kenya, as well as deferring the proceedings for several months and allowing them to participate only in some parts of the case.
The States parties themselves, in the framework of joint work with Kenya, showed the way by recommending various rearrangement of procedures, including using video teleconferencing.
The meeting of the Assembly of States parties in the Hague next week will provide an opportunity to realize these fruitful exchanges.
But the choice made was to move forward hastily, for which we were offered no explanation. Such haste is useless and fraught with the risk of an artificial and dangerous confrontation between the African Union and the Security Council, which would should like to avert. These are crucial partners in resolving crises on the African continent. That is why my country abstained in the voting, proving that we hope to continue the dialogue as we move beyond this painful episode.
France is a partner of the African Union in Mali, Somalia and the Central African Republic. We are mobilizing together, on the basis of shared values, to help civilians in need. France has lost soldiers in defending those populations.
France is a friendly ally of Kenya, which is a democratic and respected country. We understand its concerns and the role it plays in support of regional stability, in particular in Somalia.
In that spirit, France will continue to work with Kenya and African Union countries to find solutions to allow Kenya’s leaders to take up their responsibilities, while also respecting the integrity of the Rome Statute.
The various proposals put forward by various States, including Kenya, are on the table of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, which will meet as of 20 November. We support the principle. A solution is always within reach. We must grasp it. We must look to the future.
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