ICC not panacea for Kenya

February 22, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – The International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) on Monday asked Kenyans to continue pressuring the government to pursue a local system of dealing with perpetrators of the 2007/2008 post election violence.

ICTJ Head – Kenya Office Njonjo Mue told Capital News that there was no guarantee that the International Criminal Court (ICC) will open a case against the Kenyan perpetrators and even if it did, it could only deal with about four people.

“We need to be realistic and Kenyans have to manage their expectations, not to put all our hopes on the ICC. Whether or not the ICC Prosecutor gets this go ahead, we still have a lot of work to do back here at home,” he said.

 “The answer to the violence doesn’t lie in The Hague, it may help but we have people who killed, raped and burnt, they are very many.”

He also appealed for patience from Kenyans following the request by the ICC judges for Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo to provide more information on the Kenyan case last week. Mr Mue said the Pre Trial judges were merely following due process.

Last Friday, the judges asked for more information from the prosecutor in his bid to open an investigation into the post election violence with a clarification and additional information in the process of assessing whether or not to authorise a full investigation.

Mr Mue said the request meant that the court was still keen on the Kenyan situation since, “It is one of the steps the Rome Statute provides if the prosecutor applies for authorisation to conduct a full investigation.”

ICC Field Outreach Coordinator for Uganda Maria Kamara on Saturday said the Rome Statute warranted the judges’ call for further clarification of the evidence presented by Mr Ocampo and that they wanted 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 court’s attention.

According to ICC procedures, Kenya is still on the first step which is analysis of the admissibility. 
This is where the court checks to see if a case should be filed or not depending on the amount and reliability of the evidence presented by the prosecutor to the judges.

After going through the evidence, the judges will then decide if there will be a case or not.  Should there be a case, Kenya will enter the second phase which will be investigations followed by issuance of the arrest warrants or summons, then enforcement of arrest warrants and surrender of suspects to the ICC.

Owing to the fact that the ICC has no police, it entirely hopes suspects will surrender themselves or the affected countries will cooperate and arrest suspects. This has been the worst dilemma for the ICC since governments most of who are signatories of the Rome Statute have failed to help in the arrests.

Once the suspects are apprehended, the initial appearance at the court is next followed by the confirmation of charges then a trial.

After the trial, sentencing is issued and it is at that point that suspects can appeal.

Looking at the process, Kenya still has a long way to go (probably several years) should Mr Ocampo get the go-ahead to act.


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