Kenya accused of attempts to scuttle ICC probe

May 30, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 – Fresh allegations have emerged that Kenya plans to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to defer investigations into the 2008 post election violence for at least one year, due to the ongoing political activities mainly on the constitutional review.

Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara and some local human rights organisations claim the government has prepared a brief and dispatched its officials to Kampala, Uganda to meet ICC officials at the sidelines of a Rome Statute Review Conference that kicks off on Monday.

“The conference in Kampala should have been an opportunity for the Kenyan government to show its commitment. Instead of participating at the conference, we have now seen a leaked document reflecting the government’s position, which is to ask the ICC to defer investigations for at least one year,” Mr Imanyara said.

He alleged that the government was working closely with some ‘conservative African governments’ under the umbrella of the African Union to get the investigations in the Kenyan situation shelved.

“Parliament has not been informed of this, there has been no policy statement from the government on why this should be the case,” Mr Imanyara who addressed a joint press conference with officials of the International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) said.

He said any attempt to undermine the ICC investigations posed a danger to the country’s future, particularly the 2012 general elections.

“That is why such attempts ought to be exposed, because we fully support the ICC investigations,” he said and termed the attempt as a scheme orchestrated by a section of government.

“This can not be a coalition government decision, it is something that is being done by some anti-reformists,” he said.

Ndung’u Wainaina of the ICPC said his organisation would do everything possible to ensure the ICC investigations are not halted.

“Accordingly, we are calling on the delegations to the ICC review conference in Kampala to dismiss with contempt it deserves, the maneuvers by the government of Kenya or the African Union to use the forum to obstruct the cause of international justice,” he said.

Mr Imanyara whose Motion on the establishment of a local tribunal is still pending in Parliament said they are also aware of the fact that there are already disagreements between the coalition parties on the proper representation at the Kampala conference.

It is understood representatives at the meeting will be drawn from the Attorney General’s office, Justice Ministry as well as coalition advisors of both President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

When he visited Kenya earlier this month, the ICC Prosecutor vowed to make Kenya an example in his investigations and subsequent prosecution of the leaders or government officials found to be most responsible for crimes committed in the country during the post election violence.

His investigators are already in the country seeking evidence to nail suspected masterminds of the deadly violence which claimed the lives of some 1500 people and displaced 500,000 more.

Mr Ocampo has pledged to return back to Kenya in a few months to come, when he will visit areas which were worst hit by the violence, mainly in the Rift Valley Province.


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