Kenya cant touch Kabuga, says lawyer

December 5, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 4 – A woman believed to be the wife of Rwandan fugitive Felicien Kabuga maintains that Kenyan courts have no jurisdiction to try genocide suspects and therefore cannot entertain any proceedings related to such crimes.

Josephine Mukazitoni, 66, who is challenging seizure of property in Nairobi allegedly co-owned with Mr Kabuga, insisted on Thursday that the High Court of Kenya not only  lacks the jurisdiction to try crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, but also lacks jurisdiction to entertain any other  proceedings whatsoever in relation to those crimes.

Through Lawyer Ken Ogeto, Ms Mukazitoni said the Kenyan constitution does not allow application of International Law and the Court ‘ought to be more cautious’ in a situation where the applicants (Attorney General-) rely on international instruments.

“There is no dispute that these proceedings relate to genocide and crimes against humanity allegedly committed outside jurisdiction of this court,” Lawyer Ogeto told he court.

He also claimed that Kenyan law did not provide for the two crimes and therefore Kenyan courts cannot try genocide and crimes against humanity suspects.

According to him, Kenya has not enacted a Universal Jurisdiction Act which would enable courts to prosecute genocide and crimes against humanity suspects regardless of nationality.

“There is a huge vacuum in our law in relation to the constitution,” Mr Ogeto said.

He added that it was upon the Attorney General to impress upon Parliament to pass the necessary legislation.

On Tuesday, the lawyer had told the court that that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has no jurisdiction over Ms Mukazitoni.

He argued that Ms Mukazitoni was not a wanted criminal and therefore the Arusha-based tribunal was blackmailing Kenya as it has no mandate to force states into arresting individuals to face it.

He also claimed that the AG’s reliance on the tribunal’s statutes is wrong because the statutes had not been domesticated as it should before being adopted.

In May this year the High Court siezed Spanish Villas along Lenana Road in Nairobi following claims that the multi-million shilling properties were co-owned by Mr Kabuga and Ms Mukazitoni and that its proceeds were used to aid Mr Kabuga to evade justice.

The Rwandan fugitive has been on the run for over a decade and is wanted for allegedly masterminding the 1994 genocide that left an estimated 800,000 dead in his country.
Hearing of the case is set to resume on December 10.


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