ICC staff in Kenya not investigators

April 9, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9 – The team of International Criminal Court (ICC) officials that arrived in the country on Thursday comprises public information officers and not investigators.

The officers work in the ICC public information office, within the Office of The Prosecutor (OTP).

“I\’m in Nairobi for a couple of days in order to prepare the visit of Prosecutor Ocampo in May and not to investigate as put forward,” one of the officials told Capital News.

They are expected to inform and educate the media and stimulate coverage on the work of the prosecutor, ahead of his visit in May.

The officers are not expected to stay in Kenya until the prosecutor arrives and could leave after the brief visit.

During his video interview last week, the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he would come to Kenya in May to begin investigations into the 2007/2008 post election violence that targets 20 individuals.

ICC has on several occasions urged Kenyans to manage their expectations as the court processes are thorough and take time before making any decision.

The court has argued that the nature of crimes being investigated is sensitive and require to be handled with the same sensitivity which calls for protection of witnesses, victims and caution on suspects.

Mr Ocampo did not state how long the investigations would take but said he expected to complete most of his work by the end of the year.

After investigations, Mr Ocampo will request the Pre-Trial Chamber to issue summons to the suspects to appear or issue warrants of arrest.

Suspects’ appearance before the judges will be the next step followed by confirmation, hearing and then trial.

Mr Ocampo said:  “We will evaluate the best way to ensure the appearance of the suspects in court. We can request a sealed arrest warrant, a public arrest warrant or, if the suspects express willingness to cooperate and accept to appear voluntarily, a summons to appear. The judges will then decide.”

Unfortunately, cooperation by governments has been ICC’s major challenge as it depends on them to arrest the suspects since the court has no police unit of its own.

The suspects can also be arrested if they travel to member countries of the ICC.


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