UK envoy pushes for local tribunal

February 12, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – The British High Commissioner Rob Macaire has criticised leaders pushing for post poll violence offenders to be tried at The Hague saying they are being hypocritical.

The British envoy said on Thursday that the Special Tribunal stands a better chance of success, since it will be held in the country, as compared to The Hague whose process is more complicated and uncertain.

Mr Macaire further emphasised the need to educate Kenyans on the differences between the Special Tribunal and The Hague.

“I think once you are into taking things to the International Criminal Court you are in unknown territory,” he pointed out.

The envoy said that those advocating for the involvement of the International Criminal Court were doing so for personal reasons.

“I suspect that some of the people who are promoting this idea may be doing so not because it is the best way to deal with it, but because they are protecting themselves or someone else from the local tribunal,” Mr Macaire said. 

He was speaking on Capital in the Morning where he outlined the advantages of having a Special Tribunal set up locally.

“We think that the Waki Commission was a very good piece of work. What it recommended was a tribunal sitting here,” he said. “We think that it will be a really good thing for Kenya.”

“The law that has been drafted is about a tribunal that sits in Kenya but it has got international judges, prosecutors and investigators; and a lot of provisions are the same as the International Criminal Court (ICC),” he further stated.

Separately, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) stressed the need to strengthen the Special Tribunal of Kenya Bill that seeks to prosecute post election violence offenders by integrating it into the Constitution.

Executive Director Muthoni Wanyeki said there is need to put in place strong investigative and prosecution measures to ensure positive results.

Ms Wanyeki said the Bill should have a provision to prioritise witness protection, to enable witnesses to come forward freely.

“The hybrid nature of the court staff is intended as a protective measure against attempts at interference,” she said. “Similarly it needs very strong investigative and prosecution capacity, again of a hybrid nature.”

She emphasised that doing so would ensure consistency in the prosecution process.

“It is very important to ground this properly within the Constitution to prevent the possibility of its work being compromised by constitutional challenges later,” Ms Wanyeki stated.

“This could relate to the status of the court; the activities that some of crimes the courts will be dealing with,” she outlined.


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