Orengo: Local trial best for Kenya

July 21, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 21- Cabinet Minister James Orengo said on Tuesday that a local tribunal would be the best bet for Kenya to address the issue of impunity and tackle last year’s post-election violence.

He said the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the last resort and that the government had taken cognisance of this fact and was trying to establish laws that conform to international standards.

“The Bills that are being debated (in Cabinet) are an attempt to comply with the Rome Statute which Kenya is a part of and which requires member states to comply with certain obligations and provisions,” he explained.

He said once this is done, then the ICC would not have any basis to intervene in the Kenya case.

“ICC can sit in Kenya and carry out investigations as they wish but for them to take up the case, it must convince the international community that Kenya has been unwilling or unable to get justice for the victims of the violence,” the minister added.

Mr Orengo expressed his support for measures to domesticate the local tribunal saying failure to do so would lead to Kenya being categorised among other failed States such as Somalia.

At the same time, he chastised a section of politicians who are threatening to forward a separate list of last year’s post election violence suspects to the International Criminal Court accusing them of being dishonest.

Mr Orengo said the leaders are shifting the goal posts and their list might be inconsequential because the ICC has been carrying out its own investigations since last year.

A section of back benchers in Parliament have threatened to present the list to ICC Prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo which they say will include both President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

“That issue is neither here nor there. Ocampo has been carrying out preliminary investigations since February last year and their list would not be important,” he commented on his colleagues’ move.

Meanwhile, Mr Orengo cautioned that the proposed Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) should not be construed to mean that impunity should not be punished.

Pointing to the South African model, which he explained was used as a platform for confessions and forgiveness but not as a prosecutorial forum, he said impunity in the country should not be allowed to prevail.

The TJRC has been suggested as one way of ensuring that Kenyans confront and address past injustices and avoid a recurrence of last year’s post poll chaos.


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