In a recent interview with a Kenyan TV station, Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the UN suggested that the Permanent Members of the Security Council did not need to use their veto power with respect to the draft resolution to defer Kenyatta and Ruto’s trials. According to him, this was not a matter that should trigger the ‘nuclear option’ of the veto power. It seems that 3 of the 5 permanent members took his advice… and abstained instead of voting ‘no’ (which automatically vetoes a resolution). They were supported by an additional 4 abstentions from non-permanent members. Only 7 members voted for the resolution- 9 affirmative votes were needed for it to pass- so one can’t even say it was a close call.
I call it a diplomatic debacle because the Kenyan/AU strategy employed was so shambolic and confrontational that it was one of those rare occasions in recent times that a Council resolution failed to pass despite the absence of a veto from a Permanent Member.
The result is that the Jubilee Coalition has taken to calling the 8 Security Council abstainees ‘cowards‘ and even slapping away a hand offered in compromise. If ever there was a showcase of the chaos caused by putting a nation’s foreign policy at the service of two ICC indictees, this is it.
This article aptly dissects the way in which the Jubilee government has got itself into a tangle over these cases; with the nation finding itself with strange bedfellows such as Azerbaijan’s ruling mafia (according to wikileaked cables).