THE PRESIDENT'S TWO BODIES: UHURU KENYATTA AT THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

Edwin Bikundo

Abstract


The medieval distinction between the official and the personal bodies of the state sovereign was recently played out before the International Criminal Court. This scenario involved the President of the Republic of Kenya willingly submitting to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in his personal capacity and not as president. Essentially this argument is based on the medieval doctrine of the ‘King’s two bodies’. The distinction of describing two bodies united in one, sits at the cross roads of legal theory and political theology. Seeing the ancient doctrine of the King’s two bodies manifested in a contemporary context provides the opportunity to observe a longstanding legal theory applied to a novel factual situation. It demonstrates that this legal fiction remains stubbornly useful and effective in navigating between political imperatives and legal strictures.

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