NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 11 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has reiterated the government’s readiness to work with the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo to prosecute those behind the deadly 2007 post-election violence.
The PM said on Sunday that if Parliament shot down the private members bill by Central Imenti MP Gitobu Imanyara that seeks the establishment of a local tribunal, there would be no other alternative.
"As a government we took to Parliament the special tribunal bill but it was rejected. We could not force it down their throat," the PM said.
"But when US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton came to the country, she spoke to some MPs and she told them the justice system here is better than The Hague. After two days they brought a private members bill and we are saying if it passes through Parliament then its okay," he added.
This came barely a day after Mr Ocampo wrote to Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo requesting audience with President Mwai Kibaki and Mr Odinga on the way forward after the government failed to meet a September 30 deadline.
Earlier this month, Mr Kilonzo had said Ocampo was at liberty to start prosecutions over the post-election violence after Cabinet rejected in July a second attempt to establish a water tight local tribunal dashing hopes of a local solution to the crisis.
In February MPs had rejected the tribunal claiming it would be open to manipulation by the executive.
Mr Ocampo has revealed he was adopting a three-prolonged approach in which the ICC would deal with the key planners and financiers while other suspects would be handled by a local tribunal and the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.
At the same time, the Premier who was speaking at a fundraising ceremony at the St Stephen’s Catholic Church in Gachie defended the slow pace of legislating reforms since the formation of the Grand Coalition Government saying the coalition had been in power for only one and a half years.
"What people have not understood is that when we formed the coalition government, we had two opposing teams and it takes time to build confidence and trust between the two," he said.
"We formed the Kriegler and Waki commissions, disbanded the Electoral Commission of Kenya and many other things we have done even if it is a slow pace," the PM added.