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Kenyan MP sees no Ocampo arrests

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 3 – Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara stressed on Tuesday that International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo’s visit to Kenya will mainly be geared towards championing the establishment of a local tribunal.

He told Capital News on telephone from South Africa that Mr Ocampo, contrary to belief in some quarters, would not arrest anyone. The Prosecutor, Mr Imanyara maintained, would give Kenya yet another chance of trying the suspects locally in its quest to complete Agenda Four of the mediation talks.

“He will not make any arrests but he is coming to underline the inevitability of bringing to book those responsible for the political violence. Mr Ocampo is coming to tell the government that there is one final chance of passing the Local Tribunal Bill,” said the MP who has sponsored a Bill that seeks to establish a local mechanism for trying post election violence offenders.

Mr Imanyara said President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga should cooperate with Mr Ocampo to ensure the perpetrators are punished when he meets them during his visit scheduled for Thursday this week.

He also asked them to walk their talk since Kenyans and the international community are both watching to see their commitment to lead in seeking justice for the violence victims and punishing the criminals.

“I expect the two principals to offer Mr Ocampo and his team total cooperation, after all he does not need our cooperation to move in because Kenya is a signatory of the Rome Statute,” he said.

Mr Imanyara said when Kenya domesticated the Rome Statute the country gave the ICC the go-ahead to investigate crimes against humanity in Kenya.

Adoption of the Waki Report which contained a mechanism of sending names of those bearing the biggest responsibility to The Hague was also another factor that the legislator said gave Mr Ocampo the power to carry on with the investigations in Kenya.

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“You don’t have to worry that there will be no cooperation from the government, already there is significant cooperation in the form of a report,” he said.

Mr Imanyara also said information sent by political parties, civil society and other Kenyans to the ICC during the post election aggression gave the Prosecutor a strong platform to start his investigations with or without cooperation from the government.

“It was the Orange Democratic Movement and the Party of National Unity themselves who sent great amounts of documentation to the ICC complaining, only that at the time it was not a unified government. There is sufficient material to enable Mr Ocampo to move without any further need of the government moving in, but that not withstanding there is an obligation of the government to cooperate with the ICC fully,” he said.

He urged the government in the spirit of the Accord under which it was establised to ensure security is provided in the country to maintain peace when investigations begin.

He lashed out at politicians who claimed that there was a possibility that Mr Ocampo’s investigations would trigger violence and termed their sentiments as “mere threats”.

“The threats by a small group of people that should Mr Ocampo move against one warlord then a community will rise against the others are very foolish, those very people should be subjected to arrest and prosecution. It is a very small group of prophets of doom inciting their ethnic passion, but they are bound to fail,” he said.

The legislator added that it was up to the government to empower the police and the National Security Intelligence Service to ensure impunity in Kenya is brought to an end in a secure and stable atmosphere.

He said it was in the interest of almost all Kenyans that those who lead to the killings and displacement of people during the post poll violence are punished to serve as an example to anyone thinking of doing the same in the coming election periods.

Mr Imanyara also urged MPs and the government to support his Bill to ensure even those bearing smaller responsibilities are punished as ICC will take care of the chief perpetrators only.

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