Govt pressured to assist the ICC

September 29, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 29 – The Kenya National Human Rights and Equality Commission (KNHEC) says the government should cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court (ICC) as it conducts investigations into the 2008 post election violence.

This follows reports that the government was reluctant to release some sensitive information as requested by ICC investigators.

A commissioner at the watchdog Hassan Omar Hassan said on Wednesday that the ICC prosecutor had commenced his work and that it was wrong for the government to interfere in any way.

"Those who bear the highest responsibilities – Ministers, financiers must face the law and it is important that the government fight impunity and be seen to be fighting impunity unequivocally," he pointed out.

"I do not think what has been said in the media by Ministers is helpful to the ICC process. Kenyans do support the ICC process simply because we have a new Constitution," he said.

"If the ICC has requested for information that will lead to the prosecution of perpetrators of post election violence, it is important that the government gives that information," he added.

However, speaking elsewhere, Local Government assistant minister Lewis Nguyai defended the government\’s move to impose restrictions on the ICC during its Investigations.

Mr Nguyai said the government had an obligation to protect State secrets as revealing them would have a negative impact on Kenyans. He stressed that this should not be misinterpreted as lack of cooperation by the State.

"The ICC should focus on the perpetrators. We have government secrets which are meant to protect the interests of the people of Kenya. You cannot just say that we should start to release the government secrets that are meant to protect Kenyans. I do not think that is right," he asserted.

Mr Nguyai said focus should be on investigating those responsible for the post poll violence rather than the government.

"I am hoping that it is not somebody within the civil society or anybody with political interests who is trying to show that the post election violence was perpetrated and carried out by the government," he said.

The Government has reportedly told the ICC detectives that they would only be allowed to interrogate provincial security team leaders in the presence of a judge or the Registrar of the High Court.

The Office of the President had invoked sections 77 and 78 of the International Crimes Act, 2008, which demands that evidence to be given to the ICC officials be taken before a Judge of the High Court.


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