Jitters in govt over Annan move

July 9, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 9 – Kofi Annan has sent the government into panic after handing over the list of key post election violence suspects to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

News that the envelope sits on the desk of ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo left the government unable to explain to journalists Mr Annan’s surprise move on Thursday.

It was a surprise because when Dr Annan met senior government officials in Geneva last week, a meeting that was followed by talks between the same officials and Mr Ocampo, it was expected that some understanding had been reached to suspend sending the names to The Hague.

And after the story of ‘the envelope and The Hague’ broke on Thursday morning, President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga held a three hour impromptu meeting with the team that went to Geneva to meet the Chief Mediator, apparently to come up with a way forward on the issue.

The team was led by Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo.

When the same group including Lands Minister James Orengo and Attorney General Amos Wako went to the Netherlands it was agreed that Kenya had a year to set up a special tribunal or any other judicial mechanisms to deal with the post poll offenders.

And so even after Mr Annan’s decision on Thursday, Mr Kilonzo told a hurriedly convened press conference that the government was still clinging to the deal with the ICC on post poll offenders.

“Under the circumstances and arising from the briefing, the government confirms that it will carry out the term of the agreement with the prosecutor of the ICC Luis Moreno Ocampo and the implementation of the recommendations of the (Waki) report,” he said.

He also said the government was already abiding by the new ICC deal and had already dispatched reports on the current status of post poll related cases to The Hague.

The dispatch, which Mr Ocampo was to receive by September, included a copy of the Witness Protection Act regulations as well as steps taken to set up the Witness Protection Unit.

“An updated report on the status of the investigations and prosecutions will be provided to the ICC in due course. The government is working on a draft constitutional amendment bill on an independent tribunal to deal with crimes within the frame work of the Rome Statute,” the minister said.

Part of the deal with Mr Ocampo states that should Kenya deal with the post poll offenders through genuine proceedings, the ICC would no longer have grounds to intervene in the Kenya matter.

Mr Kilonzo’s press briefing was also attended by Mr Orengo, the A.G and Principal Administrative Secretary to the Cabinet Sam Mwale. They walked out of the conference room refusing to answer journalists’ questions.


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