NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 17 – Former Governance and Ethics Permanent Secretary John Githongo on Tuesday termed bids to refer two cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to Kenya or Africa as unrealistic.
He said the government’s attempt to have the cases referred locally was causing suspicion about Kenya’s pledge to cooperate with the court.
“We should not cheat ourselves. It is a waste of money and time. The government’s so called cooperation seems to be in bad faith. There have been a lot of back and forth attempts to interrupt the process, makes people to be suspicious about government intention,” he complained.
Githongo further said it was Kenya that failed to establish a local mechanism and so it should be ready to face the international system. “The process has started, dates have been set and we are the ones who wanted it.”
International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) Executive Director Ndung’u Wainaina also dismissed attempts to establish an African court.
He termed the move by Africa Union as a sideshow that will not succeed since the ICC is a court of last resort that comes in after subject countries fail to investigate crimes that meet the ICC threshold.
He also informed the government that Kenya stopped being a party to the two cases before the ICC after it lost its admissibility challenge.
“The ICC train left the station. At this point in time, the Kenya government is not party to the ICC proceedings. They are only two parties; the prosecutor and four accused,” he asserted.
Githongo, who is now the Chief Executive Officer of Inuka Kenya Trust, used the opportunity to advise Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto that it was unethical for them to run for the presidency.
He said they should morally step aside from the presidential race and wait for the ICC to clear them.
“Kenya is faced with a critical moral choice. It is a complete embarrassment to even consider that you can oversee over the direction over 41 million people. It is really strange,” he decried.
Githongo said although they are presumed innocent they should seriously think about the implications of leading the country when they are facing serious crimes.
He urged Kenyans to make wise choices during election time to ensure only people who can pass the integrity test that will be elected.
Last week, Kenya failed to get evidence in possession of the prosecution which it had requested so that it could use it to carry local investigations of other perpetrators including the four.
Last Friday, the head of the existing pan-African court indicated that the African Union is considering the establishment of a continental criminal court to try human rights abuses on home soil instead of Europe.