NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 23 – Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo says Kenya will not ask for more time from the International Criminal Court to set up a local tribunal.
Speaking during the opening day of the legal awareness week at the High Court Mr Kilonzo said that it was time for Kenyans to embrace The Hague option to deliver justice for post election violence victims.
“I have even seen a headline suggesting that I ask for more time. I am not going to do that. I’m not interested. Sorry,” he declared.
“We cannot produce a local tribunal before the deadline agreed with Luis Moreno-Ocampo(the ICC Prosecutor). The country must therefore come to terms with the fact that the formula of ‘Don’t be vague, go Hague,’ is now real,” he explained.
He blamed parliamentarians for the loss of time saying they went on recess before discussing a Bill on the Specuial Tribunal which was being sponsored by Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara.
“Parliament adjourned until November 10 and worse still we spent our time debating petty issues before the House went on break. So I do not want to continue pretending that I can form a local tribunal before September 30,” he said.
The Justice Minister also observed that close to two years since the post election violence rocked Kenya, the government was yet to deliver justice to the victims promising that the perpetrators would face the law.
“We have IDPs waiting for El Nino in this country; we read of a woman in a wheel chair who was thrown into a burning church. Forget about ICC, I am calling on God to help us. I have the mandate of justice, how do you want to live with that in your conscience?” he posed.
Mr Kilonzo added that there was need to establish whether international crimes were committed in Kenya, saying that this was the only way the International Criminal Court could come in.
“Right now we do not know and international crime has a very high threshold. I asked the former Police Commissioner to show me whether the police or any other agency investigated the probability of such atrocities. Unfortunately he left before he gave me a report,” he stated.
The Minister also said that he had other pending issues to deal with other than ask Mr Ocampo to give Kenya more time.
“I want to move forward and I have a lot of work in my hands including legal aid, new Constitution, anti corruption and many others. I want to devote my energy to that which the country needs as opposed to pushing wheelbarrows up the hill which spill on me all over again. That is unnecessary,” he stated.
He however said that he would invite the ICC prosecutor as soon as he got the go-ahead from Cabinet. He also promised to bring in more judicial reforms.