PCs, police chiefs date with ICC next week

October 14, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 14 – Provincial Commissioners (PCs) and Provincial Police Officers (PPOs) are likely to start recording statements with International Criminal Court (ICC) investigators next week, a meeting held on Thursday resolved.

Lawyers representing the PPOs and PCs who met Justice Kalpana Rawal during discussions also attended by the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko resolved to come up with a tentative date of the proceedings during another meeting on Monday, according to an official who attended the meeting.

Four officials from the Attorney General\’s chambers were also present at the talks at Sheria House.

"During the meeting, there was a general understanding that the process must start as soon as possible; we are only remaining to come up with the date and venue, this could be next week," the official told Capital News on condition of anonymity.

The meeting was supposed to come up with the rules and procedures of the proceedings but it was agreed that it be left to the Justice Ministry.

"We met and discussed a range of issues; they were mainly all to do with housekeeping matters. We were unable to come up with the rules and regulations to be followed," the source said.

"We are also meeting on Monday when we will agree on the day the proceedings will start, most likely within the week," he added.

"There was consensus that the work of coming up with the rules and procedures be left to the Justice Ministry and the Judiciary," the official added.

Present at the meeting were renowned lawyers Ken Ogeto, Gershom Otachi, Evans Monari, Mugambi Muriuki and a Mr Sagana. We learnt that Ahmednassir Abdullahi who is representing the Provincial Commissioners did not attend the meeting.

A representative the International Criminal Court who is leading a team of investigators in the country could not make it for the meeting as he is understood to have left Kenya for The Hague on Wednesday evening.

"There was no one from the ICC but we were expecting their lead investigator, we understand he is in not around," our source disclosed "We are hoping they will attend Monday\’s meeting," he added.

During Thursday\’s meeting, our source said, participants were advised to think of the possible venue for the statement-taking as they ruled out any of the chambers at the local courts as they lack the capacity to record the proceedings.

There were considerations of holding them at the AG\’s chambers (where such a facility exists) or request a facility at the UN headquarters.

"The proceedings must be held where they can be recorded, there is no debate about that and that is why we are looking at those possibilities.  Alternatively we shall ask for the equipment to be fitted at the AG\’s chambers, but we have ruled out sitting at the courts," our source added and revealed that the proceedings will be held in camera.

"The matter at hand is very sensitive and that is why all the proceedings are going to be held behind closed doors… that was the understanding in today\’s [Thursday] meeting," one of the lawyers said.

The ICC investigators want to question Provincial Commissioners and Police chiefs who were at the helm in five provinces at the time chaos erupted, leading to the deaths of some 1,500 people and displacement of 500,000 soon after President Mwai Kibaki was declared winner in the disputed elections of 2007.

The ICC is interested in interrogating PPOs and PCs who were at the helm in the Rift Valley, Nyanza, Western, Nairobi and Coast provinces at the height of the violence.

They include PCs Ernest Munyi (Coast), Abdul Mwasera (Western), Hassan Noor Hassan (Rift Valley), James Waweru (Nairobi) and Paul Olando (Nyanza).

The Provincial Police chiefs who were in the office at the time include Grace Kaindi [Nyanza], Everett Wasige (Rift Valley), King\’ori Mwangi (Coast), Francis Munyambu (Western) and Njue Njagi who was in Nairobi at the time.

The police chiefs and PCs have retained lawyers to avoid incriminating themselves in the post election violence cases which is picking up momentum by the day.

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has indicated he is pursuing two cases which seek to nail at least six prominent personalities in the political, security and business class who could be indicted by the end of this year.

Mr Ocampo is expected in the country late October or early November to finalise investigations and could also visit areas which were worst hit by the post election violence.

Already, the government is locked in a tussle with Mr Ocampo\’s probe team, which is demanding minutes of security meetings held before and during the post election violence.

The government has now agreed to supply the minutes, but an edited version “to safeguard national security" according to Internal Security Minister George Saitoti.


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