A request by the African Union to postpone the International Criminal Court trials of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, failed after a split vote among the United Nations Security Council. Kenyatta and Ruto face charges related to the violence after Kenya’s 2007 elections that resulted in 1,200 deaths.
The African Union requested the deferral so that Kenyatta and Ruto are able to handle the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Nairobi shopping mallled by the al-Qaida linked Somali militant group al-Shabab.
UN Security Council resolutions need nine votes and no vetoes from the five permanent members–China, France, Britain, Russia, and the United States–to pass. Russia, China and five other non-permanent members voted to approve the resolution while Britain, France, the United States, and five other members abstained.Seven of the eight members who abstained–France, Britain, Guatemala, Argentina, South Korea, Australia and Luxembourg–are members of the ICC. China, Russia, Togo, Azerbaijan, Rwanda, Morocco and Pakistan who comprised the “yes” votes are not members of the ICC. The United States abstained but is not a member of the ICC.
Members of the African Union were disappointed in the failure of the resolution and consider it a message that the rest of the Security Council has no regard for Africa’s best interest.