, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 30 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has promised that the government will fully co-operate with the International Criminal Court in the intended prosecution of those suspected to have instigated the election violence in 2008.
Mr Odinga said that having failed to establish a local tribunal after Parliament ganged up against it, the government had no option but to implement Parliament’s wish that the election violence suspects be tried at The Hague.
Speaking when he met US Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero in his office, Mr Odinga said the government was still however keen to set up a local tribunal to deal with cases that will not be taken up by the ICC.
“You know we tried to set up a local tribunal but MPs rejected it. That is how the envelope ended up with The Hague and we have no option but to co-operate with the ICC process,” Mr Odinga said.
He said that as part of the needed judicial reforms, the government is keen to appoint a new Chief Justice and Attorney General, adding that the two critical offices may be filled earlier than the deadline set in the new Constitution.
A reformed Judiciary would win the confidence of the people of Kenya and the international community and handle suspects.
Ms Otero, who is visiting the country for the second time this year, congratulated the government for steering the country into a new Constitution.
She asked the government to ensure critical provisions of the new Constitution are implemented ahead of the 2012 elections.
She said appointment of a new Chief Justice and Attorney General would earn the government a strong reputation both locally and internationally.
“Only an efficient Judiciary, with a professional Chief Justice of good reputation and strong credentials will ensure this country does not go through the difficulties you had the other time and who effects you are still dealing with,” Ms Otero said.
She said that appointment of key people in an open and transparent manner, within the shortest time possible usually has the impact of yielding good results and restoring confidence in countries moving out of a crisis.
Saying America was not keen to interfere in Kenya’s internal affairs, Ms Otero said the country currently looks good in the eyes of the international community and the reputation should be sustained.
She said Kenya also needs to co-operate with the world on the ICC process and clean the judiciary to help end the culture of impunity.
“There is concern that Kenya has people who have not been thinking about the country. They have amassed wealth for themselves and they have created the impression that Kenyans are corrupt. That is the reputation you need to discard by co-operating with the ICC and reforming the judiciary,” she said.
She pledged support for war on organised crime, including drug trafficking.
In response, Mr Odinga said the government was moving with speed on the issues. He said the Bill on setting up of the Judicial Service Commission and Vetting of judges is already in the House for the second reading.
He said the government will publish names of those tipped for appointment as CJ and AG for the public to have a say.