, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 2 – The registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Silvana Arbia has played down the row surrounding the visit of Omar al-Bashir to Nairobi, saying she is confident of full cooperation in the Kenya case.
Although she was unwilling to discuss the controversy terming it political, she said the court was not discouraged from working with Kenya despite accusations of failing to arrest him.
“I can imagine I should close the door because al-Bashir was not arrested passing through the territory. It is not the case! We have a lot of activities to do and we cannot say from now it is finished, we have to continue with our work, this is the interest of our work,” she said.
Ms Arbia said on Thursday said she was in country to prepare and establish a working order for the court during its investigations into the post election violence in Kenya.
Speaking at an ICC workshop at Internews Kenya, she said she would meet local and international partners to seek for support of the court during investigations into the 2008 post election violence.
“I have to prepare the ground… I have to ensure we have the condition to operate safely, and efficiently, I have to consider also if it is necessary to establish a field office here in Kenya,” she said.
She said she was also in the country to help Kenyans understand the context of the ICC’s work as well as give information about its operations.
Establishing contacts and other channels of communication in preparation for the investigation were also key elements in her four-day visit to the country.
Ms Arbia who is in charge of protecting victims and witnesses at the court said the ICC would protect witnesses of the post election violence but emphasised that the government also had a role to play in protecting other witnesses and victims.
She said the court seriously considers the safety of witnesses before accepting them to testify in any cases.
The Registrar welcomed the Witness Protection law which she hoped would be a reality in protecting witnesses and victims.
She said the ICC was pleased and would as well respect it as it was in good taste to offering protection.