Kenya insists on domestic tribunal on vote unrest

November 9, 2009 12:00 am

, SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Nov 9 – Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula said Monday that Nairobi will help the International Criminal Court to probe election violence, but that it was committed to a "local solution."

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said during a visit to Kenya last week that he had a strong case against key planners of deadly violence after the disputed elections of December 27, 2007.

But Moreno-Ocampo failed to secure a formal referral from the Kenyan government so that the ICC could begin investigations.

"We told Ocampo that he is free to come, but we will not refer ourselves… we are not a failed state," Wetangula said.

"All we need to do is cooperate with him," he told AFP on the sidelines of a Sino-African summit in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

"We gave him our firm assurances… that we will discharge our international responsibilities fully within the context of the (Rome) statute."

However, he added Kenya still insisted on a domestic trial, despite the defeat in parliament of a bill to set up the tribunal.

"Our commitment was and remains a local solution… we are still committed to that," Wetangula said.

Some 1,500 people were killed and another 300,000 displaced in a matter of weeks after the presidential polls in which President Mwai Kibaki was accused of having stolen the vote.

Moreno-Ocampo said he would use the report of an official inquiry into the violence led by Justice Phillip Waki and probes conducted by other agencies to convince ICC judges to back a formal investigation.

The ICC appointed three judges earlier this month to consider the prosecution request.

Kenya last year enacted the ICC Act defining crimes against humanity and other crimes under international law as crimes under Kenyan law, but only if committed after January 2009.


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