, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 27 – Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo now says he is not bent on blocking the International Criminal Court from carrying out investigations against perpetrators of the 2008 post election violence.
Mr Kilonzo said his renewed call for local prosecutions was a way of seeking justice for all victims by ensuring that other crimes that do not meet the international crimes bar are dealt with through Kenyan justice system.
He was emphatic that a reformed Judiciary and police force under the new Constitution would ensure credible prosecutions and justice for the victims, some of who are still in camps for the internally displaced.
"With a new Constitution the issues are different because we do not need to set up a local tribunal. Am speaking about our local courts," said Mr Kilonzo while addressing a conference on Human rights by the Centre for Conflict resolutions.
"I am confident that by the time we finish vetting the judges, appointing a new public prosecutor and finalising the police reforms, I will be able to look Kenyans in the eye and say: Yes we can!"
He said, "All we will need to do is for the new Chief Justice to appoint a panel of three of judges and with a new prosecutor and a reformed police we will arrest these people."
The Minister has come under fire in the last week, after announcing that he preferred a local judicial mechanism to address the crisis, now that the country has a new Constitution that will reform key judicial institutions.
The Minister dismissed critics who say he is trying to divert ongoing investigations by the ICC and that he is serving certain political interests.
"This whole issue has turned petty. It has been confused with politics but I have ducked the politics because that is not my function. I am purely talking from a justice system view," he opined.
ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has been in the country twice and is expected again later next month as the investigations pick momentum. The court\’s registrar Silvana Arbia was also in the country earlier in the month and signed an agreement with the Kenya government to facilitate the work of the ICC officials.
And on Monday, ICC sleuths arrived in the country to a tight itinerary where they were scheduled to meet various security chiefs as investigations into the 2008 post election violence continue.
The officials from the Staff Security Section of the Office of the Prosecutor were to meet the Provincial Police bosses in Coast and Central provinces on Monday and Tuesday before proceeding to Nyanza, Nairobi and Rift Valley.
Mr Ocampo is seeking evidence to enable him file about two major cases at the court by Christmas, aimed to nail the key masterminds.
"The prosecutor is still investigating and we do not know whether the ICC will admit the Kenyan case and to pretend otherwise is merely blowing hot air," retorted Mr Kilonzo.
"Nevertheless the prosecutor cannot investigate rape, murder, arson, displacement and destruction of property. These are pegged on the Kenyan penal code. His is on international crimes."