ICC judges decision valid says official

February 20, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 20- International Criminal Court Field Outreach Coordinator for Uganda Maria Kamara now says that Friday’s request by the Pre-Trial Judges seeking more information from Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo was due process.

She says that the issue of admissibility as presented under article 17 of the Rome statute warranted the Judges’ call for further clarification of the evidence presented by Ocampo.

Ms Kamara on Saturday explained: “the Judges want the prosecutor to indicate why he wanted the ICC to open a case in Kenya and whether the case was grave enough to attract the ICC’s attention.”

“Once the Prosecutor provided answers to these questions, then the Pre-Trial Judges would be able to make a decision on what action to take.”

She said the judges want the prosecutor to ascertain whether or not Kenya had put in place adequate measures to establish a tribunal to try the offenders at state level and whether the country was unwilling or unable to prosecute the perpetrators.”

Ms Kamara was however quick to caution Kenyans against banking all their hope on the ICC saying the Pre-Trial Judges could either decline or accept the Prosecutor’s request to open the Kenyan case.

Meanwhile the International Center for Policy and Conflict also said the request by the ICC Pre-Trial Judges requesting for additional information on crimes against humanity that were allegedly committed during the post election violence was not a final verdict and did not mean that the ICC had dismissed the Kenyan case.

ICPC Executive Director Ndung’u Wainana said the proposal by the Pre-Trial Judges should not be misconstrued to imply that the Court would ignore Mr Ocampo’s request to start official investigations in Kenya.

“It is our anticipation that the evidence in the possession of the Prosecutor is manifestly sufficient to authorize the initiation of an investigation. We hope that once the Office of the Prosecutor provides the judges of the Court with the requested information and clarification, the Chamber judges will issue an expeditious decision,” Mr Wainana said on Saturday.

He added that Kenya had so far not had any genuine proceedings against those most responsible for the post election violence and that the culture of impunity that enabled abuses in the first place has remained intact.

The ICC Prosecutor has until the 3rd of March to present the Pre-Trial Chambers with the additional information.

The Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence (Waki Commission) was set up by the Kenyan coalition government as part of the peace and reconciliation mediation process that brought the violence of early 2008 under control. The commission reported on October 16, 2008, recommending a series of reforms and establishment of a special tribunal of international and Kenyan judges to investigate and prosecute those most responsible for the violence.

The Waki report contained a strict timeline for setting up the tribunal and putting it to work, which, if breached, would require the mediator -Kofi Annan- to pass a sealed envelope with the names of chief suspects to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On 12th February 2009 Parliament voted against a Constitutional Amendment (2008 Bill) establishing the proposed tribunal made up of Kenyan and international judges. The Waki Commission had set a deadline of January 30th to pass the legislation but on February the 24th Kofi Annan granted the government of Kenya more time to re-introduce the bills. A Private Members motion to enact a law to establish the Tribunal is still pending in House.


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