Warning as ICC seeks data on violence

November 11, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, November 11- Pressure for the government to implement the Waki Commission report continued to mount on Tuesday with revelations that the International Criminal Court (ICC) had began showing interest of commencing the investigations into the post-poll violence if the government failed to act.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) vice-chairman Hassan Omar Hassan told a media breifng that the ICC had written to the commission last week asking for reports it had complied soon after the violence broke out.

“They have asked us to share with them our report.  They want to determine whether this matter will be a matter they will be interested in.  The ICC doesn’t need an invitation to come here they just need to have a prima facie basis for them to intervene in this matter,” he said.

The KNCHR report titled “On the Brink of the Precipice: A Human Rights Account of Kenya’s Post-2007 Election” which gave details of how the violence was planned and executed is believed to have formed part of the basis of the Waki report.

The report categorised the violence into four areas: Spontaneous riots that erupted immediately the presidential vote results were announced; planned and systematic attacks that led to evictions and mass displacement; violence meted out by the police; and retaliation by communities when they saw their friends and family being attacked.

The document lists 200 people, including a number of Cabinet Ministers and other politicians accused of planning and inciting the violence, organising sham fund-raisers to finance the murders and mayhem, and some of the worst incidents of ethnic hatred in the country.

The commission on Tuesday advised the government to form a local tribunal to handle the investigations of alleged financers and perpetrators of the post poll violence.

“We need to run this process parallel so as to ensure that any failure of our political process will immediately mid-wife an ICC process,” he said.

“If we keep relying on external measures what we mean is that we no longer have confidence in our systems.  We as Kenyans can be confident enough and deal with them.  This will send a strong message to politicians and other Kenyans that our systems can work and will work”, said another commissioner with the human rights body.

Elsewhere, German ambassador Walter Lindner said the implementation of the Waki report was not only Kenya’s prerogative since the international community was keenly watching how the country would deal with the recommendations.

“It’s necessary to implement (the report), it’s not in the hands of Kenya anymore because they agreed to set up this commission and have the report out there.”

He expressed disappointment that the whole report had been trivialised by the debate around the controversial envelope (containing the list of alleged perpetrators) that was handed to Chief Mediator Kofi Annan.

Lindner warned against wishing away thorny issues such as land, constitutional and economic reforms which might have fanned the crisis.  “The report is not just about the now famous envelope.  It’s about far-reaching reforms in the security and intelligence systems and the management of political parties and the electoral system.”

He also cautioned politicians against misleading Kenyans on the contents of the report.

“There is some intentional misinformation or misreading of the report. It is not that everybody who is in the envelope is ripe for a trial.  What Waki is saying is that they gathered some evidence which was not enough and it has been handed over to an investigator who will conduct further investigations” said the diplomat.

George Kegoro, who also served as the secretary to the Waki commission, said the government must implement the Waki report if it expects the process of national healing and reconciliation to be successful.

Mr Kegoro said the report established that most of the violations occurred because some government agencies allowed ethnicity to influence their actions.


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