MPs fault diplomats over ICC stand

December 7, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 7 – Three MPs have accused European Union diplomats in Nairobi of taking sides in the raging debate surrounding the intimidation of witnesses to the International Criminal Court.

Reacting to a statement issued by the diplomats earlier on Tuesday, MPs, Charles Keter, Isaac Ruto and Jamleck Kamau wondered why the EU had called on the government to probe the alleged intimidation and left out the allegations of witness coaching.

Speaking at Parliament buildings, the MPs said the diplomats appeared biased in their statement.

“They have remained silent over the role of the human rights directors in that particular coaching. We don’t know what justice they are pushing,” said Mr Ruto (Chepalungu)

He asked: “Is it justice in their direction?”

Mr Kamau reiterated that “the diplomats are looking at one side of the coin. What is good for the goose must also be good for the gander,” he said.

The EU said on Tuesday that it was worried about the growing harassment of witnesses of Kenya\’s 2008 post-election violence as the International Criminal Court readies to give names of the suspected masterminds and called on the government to investigate the matter.

The head of the EU delegation in Kenya Eric van der Linden voiced the EU\’s "serious concern" over the "increasing harassment of potential witnesses and the human rights defenders that are trying to assist them".

“We expect them to be wholesome, and honest in their statement and follow the rules of natural justice,” challenged Mr Ruto.

Mr Keter on his part said the statement lacked objectivity.

“It is upon all to be truthful and honest. If fighting impunity is one sided then we want to know,” he asserted.

Two alleged witnesses last month retracted their statements against one of the alleged instigators of the violence, William Ruto, claiming they had been paid to testify against the influential former minister.

Since that incident police have opened an investigation into Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Commissioner, Hassan Omar, who is accused of having bribed the witnesses, an accusation he denies.

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo last week announced that before December 17 he would make public the names of the six suspected masterminds that the ICC is pursuing.

The violence that followed the disputed elections of December 2007 left more than 1,500 dead and 30,000 displaced. Mr Ocampo said last week those suspected of intimidating ICC witnesses would be investigated.


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