ODM now steps in to help Ruto and Co.

March 24, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – The Orange Democratic Movement now says it will move a Bill to set up a local Tribunal to try the 2008 post-election violence suspects next week.

In a dramatic turn of events, the party also declared that it would hire a legal defence team for Deputy Party Leader William Ruto, Chairman Henry Kosgey and Joshua arap Sang who is said to be an ODM member.

ODM Parliamentary Secretary Ababu Namwamba maintained that the party was keen on a referral of the ICC cases and not a deferral as pushed by the rival Party of National Unity.

"We are not doing this so that we can stop anyone from going to The Hague, we are doing this so that we can fulfil the requirement of the Rome Statutes and cases can be referred or jurisdiction can be changed at any stage," Mr Namwamba emphasised.

He added that the establishment of the local Tribunal would provide a better platform for negotiations with the ICC as it seeks to address other platforms such as prosecutions of the other levels of crimes that may have been committed during the time.

"We have taken this move because we are aware of insinuations that have been made that our party was involved, and three of our party members. We were not party to any crime in fact we were the victims," he said.

The party\’s announcement comes barely hours after Party Leader Prime Minister Raila Odinga\’s stand that a local trial could not work without the involvement of international investigators from United Kingdom and the United States.

In his weekly address to Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Odinga said ODM would support a referral of the Kenya case at the International Criminal Court (ICC) if investigations were conducted by sleuths from the United States and the United Kingdom but not Kenyan police.

"We\’d rather go for Scotland Yard or the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to come and carry out these investigations, then we recruit the prosecutor transparently and then we have a competent Judiciary that has been vetted or an independent tribunal that will try these suspects," he had told Parliament.

On Thursday, the party Deputy Secretary General Joseph Nkaiserry appealed for support from MPs when the matter comes before the House for debate.

"Our partners from PNU have been playing politics because if they were committed as they claim to be they should have been doing this, the State Law Office has the capacity of bringing the Bill here… why didn\’t they do so," he said.

Mr Ruto, Mr Kosgey, and Mr Sang are expected to make a formal appearance before The Hague Court on April 7, while Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and former Police Commissioner Major Gen Hussein Ali are due before the court on April 8.

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