Kenyan MP cautions ICC prosecutor

October 13, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – Imenti Central Member of Parliament (MP) Gitobu Imanyara has appealed to International Criminal Court Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo not to be deluded by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga about their commitment to form a local tribunal.

He told Capital News that if the two principals were committed to forming a local tribunal, they would be drumming support for his Bill seeking to form the tribunal after the government failed to lobby MPs to set up such a court in February.

“If they are committed what we should be hearing from them is, yes Imanyara and company we are supporting this Bill.  But, we have not heard that.  Instead, they continue to sing the old tune that the government is committed, where did the commitment go when we brought a Bill that meets international standards?” he wondered.

He continued: “It is wrong for the government to continue spreading lies that it is Parliament that refused (to enact the necessary laws) because if that were true, it is MPs who are now championing the Bill, why don’t they support it?”

He also accused the PM of shifting positions.  “What worries me is the PM’s changing positions, when we were in Imenti he strongly supported this Bill, but there comes other times when he is with the President he gives conflicting statements.  A leader like him should be consistent with the message he is sending to the Kenyan people.”

He advised the leaders to stop saying their hands were tied by Parliament’s failure to pass the government’s Local Tribunal Bill in February.

The Lawyer said his Bill met international standards and had also been accepted by Mr Ocampo and Chief Mediator Kofi Annan.

He said The Hague could only investigate and prosecute five chief perpetrators at most, leaving a large number of those responsible for lesser crimes free.

He appealed to MPs, the civil society and the rest of Kenyans to see the vital role a local tribunal would play in punishing the perpetrators, and also bringing justice to victims of the post election violence.

Mr Imanyara also made it clear that he had addressed concerns that led to the rejection of the government Bill saying his proposed law made serious considerations that would guard witnesses and if need be, seek for their asylum as well as change their identities.

He said without punishing the perpetrators, it would mean giving confidence to ‘warlords’ to lead the country and commit worse crimes than those committed in 2007/2008.

He said the advantage was that the local tribunal could sit anywhere in the world. It will also call for the formation of magistrate courts that will be located in places of need depending on how the areas were affected by the post election violence.

He however said since his Bill is a constitutional amendment, he said it will be a challenge to raise a quorum of two thirds majority required.

He said he had held a series of meetings with different groups asking them to support his Bill.

On Tuesday morning, he held a meeting with backbench MPs to review his Bill and also drum up for support to ensure it was passed when Parliament resumes in mid November.

The Bill has already passed through the first reading and he said he expected it will be considered a priority in the order of parliament’s business.


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