Raila seeks harmony as ICC cases start

April 6, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 6 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday urged the International Criminal Court to ensure justice prevails during the initial appearance of six Kenyans on Thursday and Friday.

In his address to the Kenyan nation, Mr Odinga described the process which begins on Thursday as both \’unprecedented and unfortunate.\’

"Beginning tomorrow, six of our citizens will appear as suspects at the International Criminal Court at The Hague in relation to the post-election violence of 2007-2008.  From the ICC, we expect nothing but justice for the victims and a fair process for the suspects," Mr Odinga said in his live televised address.
He also urged Kenyans to maintain peace as the ICC process progresses.

"As a nation, let us reflect on the two months in which Kenya burnt under the trail of destruction and pain left behind and how we pulled together from the brink of disintegration of our nation," he said.

"Over this weekend beginning Friday, the people of Kenya will be saying prayers for all those who still grieve; for the children whose worlds were shattered, for parents who lost entire families, for all who feel that their safety and security remain threatened."

He said that matter was unique since it was the first time a Kenyan was being tried at the international crimes court. Mr Odinga described the development as inopportune because it is a big statement on the failure of Kenya\’s national institutions.

The Prime Minister refused to be drawn into responding to allegations by two of the Ocampo Six who have accused him of masterminding their prosecution as a way of eliminating them ahead of the next year\’s general election.

In their series of farewell prayer rallies, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto accused Mr Odinga of being behind their woes at The Hague.

"As you know I have never responded to those allegations, because I know that Kenyans know the truth.  I really would like us to focus on the future," he said.

He also moved to assure all Kenyans and the international community that the security and stability of the nation was not under threat.

"At this moment in our history, I remind our people that a house divided against itself, whether by party, region, religion, or tribe cannot stand.  I appeal to Kenyans that we bind our wounds, heal our history and carry on together as one nation and one people," said Mr Odinga.

He said that the Kenya had faced trying moments before and appealed to Kenyans to unite for justice and peace. 

"As a nation, we must never forget why we are where we are.  Yet we must also go forward in the spirit of patriotism, reconciliation, tolerance and unity," he said.

Four of the Ocampo Six suspects spent the better part of Wednesday familiarising themselves with rules and regulations of the court.

Former Police Commissioner Mohammed Hussein Ali who arrived in The Hague on Tuesday night was joined on Wednesday morning by Mr Ruto, his Tinderet counterpart Henry Kosgey and Kass FM presenter Joshua arap Sang who left the country on Tuesday night.

The Head of the Public Service Francis Muthaura left Kenya at dawn on Wednesday and was due in the Netherlands on later in the day.

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