ICC prosecutor visits Kenyan slum

May 10, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 10 – International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo who is on a five-day tour of Kenya on Monday visited the Mathare slum, which is one of the hot spots of the 2008 post-election violence.

However, due to security concerns, Mr Ocampo did not tour the area but instead met residents at a youth centre.

He also watched a video on the violence experienced in the area. Later on Monday, he was due to meet with senior government officials.

On Sunday, the Prosecutor held a town hall meeting with about 300 people representative of various sectors of the society where he called on Kenyan youths to step up and take leading roles in the country.

“I think Kenya is a deeply developed society, you see the media pretty free; they discuss everything and then the new generation is well educated,” he said. “They (youths) have to learn how to take ownership, how to manage the country, I think this a great opportunity for them.”

Mr Ocampo nonetheless opined that a lot of effort was needed to change the country’s political landscape. 

And speaking exclusively to journalists from Radio Netherlands Worldwide, he said that most of those he spoke to wanted The Hague-based court to prosecute the perpetrators of the violence.

“Normally we believe African people want the courts to work in Africa (but) from listening to them, they want the court in The Hague. I found this fascinating,” he confessed.

He said he was pleased that he met the ordinary Kenyan people and more so, those affected by the violence.

Mr Ocampo also appreciated the interest demonstrated by Kenyans for the court and pledged to make Kenyans understand the ICC and its operations.

The enthusiastic prosecutor also restated his commitment to fulfill his pledge of investigating and ensuring perpetrators with the highest responsibility face justice. “I have the feeling that I have the best mission in the world, I am a public servant but implementing it is the best mission possible.”

He said he was determined to drive across a point that innocent people should not be killed, raped or treated inhumanely.

The public forum was attended by ordinary citizens including victims, members of the civil society, representatives of minority groups and others.

The forum which was also aired on five television stations in the country saw people give their views with some asking Mr Ocampo to assure Kenyans that the perpetrators would face justice before the country’s next general election in 2012.

Others wanted him to make it clear if the suspects would be arrested and if the commitment of the government to cooperate was real. They also asked him to give an assurance that he would not be compromised by powerful politicians in his probe to which he responded that his investigation would be thorough and impartial. Meanwhile, Gichugu MP Martha Karua has criticised those saying that Mr Ocampo’s visit will interfere with the healing of the country.

She said she fully supported the ICC process in Kenya and insisted that justice was important for Kenya.

“Anybody marketing the idea that following criminal justice will jeopardise  healing must be a perpetrator of violence or trying to hide those who perpetrated violence, Kenyans want the justice system to work, and any forgiveness must be inside the justice system,” she said.

Capital News is working in partnership with the Radio Netherlands journalists who are embedded with Mr Ocampo in this tour. We shall bring you exclusive coverage in our news bulletins, as well as articles and blogs on our website news.capitalfm.co.ke over the next few days.


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