On Tuesday, Joyce Laboso, the deputy speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya, released an order for a “special sitting of the assembly” with the parliament on Thursday.
Even if the Kenyan MPs choose to leave the ICC, it would not affect the upcoming trials of Vice President William Ruto, and President Uhuru Kenyatta as their legal procedures have already begun.
Ruto is supposed to face trial next week for three counts of crimes against humanity by organizing post-election unrest that left 1,100 dead and displaced more than 600,000 in 2007 and 2008.
On November 12, an ICC trial will open for Kenyatta, who faces five charges of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, persecution, deportation and other inhumane acts perpetrated during the post-election unrest.
Following a request from the parliament’s majority leader, Kithure Kindiki, the Kenyan lawmakers are expected to vote for an end to the African country’s membership in the Rome Statute of the ICC, the treaty that established the court.
“Any law in this country or internationally like the Rome Statute can be repealed and can be amended,” said Asman Kamama, one of the at least 30 MPs supporting Kindiki’s petition.
“It is not cast in stone and we want to be the trail blazers in the continent,” the lawmaker added.
Although the lawmakers might vote for a withdrawal, the country can actually pull out from the ICC by submitting a formal request, which would take about a year.
Both houses of Kenya’s parliament are dominated by the Jubilee coalition of Kenyatta and Ruto.
“Withdrawing from the Rome Statute has no impact on cases already open, it does not affect investigations, proceedings or trials which have already started,” ICC spokesman Fadi al-Abdallah said.
Kenyatta and Ruto, who have both denied the charges against them, say they would cooperate with the court fully.
Established in The Hague in 2002, the ICC is tasked with dealing with genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.