Ministers now scramble to meet Ocampo

November 4, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI Kenya Nov 4 – Two more Cabinet Ministers are reported to be planning to travel to The Hague to meet with the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Moreno Ocampo.

The indication came barely hours after suspended High Education Minister William Ruto left the country for what he said was an appointment with Mr Ocampo where he hoped to set the record straight. Mr Ruto later met with ICC officials but details of the meeting remained sketchy.

Mr Ruto was accompanied to the meeting by his lawyer Katwa Kigen and Belgut MP Charles Keter.

The ICC had written to five Cabinet Ministers asking them to make time to meet with the court’s investigators in connection with the post-election violence and related crimes.

Mr Ruto said he sought an appointment with Luis Moreno-Ocampo and was asked to meet with the prosecutor this week. A source close to one of the two ministers heading to the Hague told Capital News that they had been waiting for the right moment too meet Mr Ocampo. “We have always said that we have nothing to fear. We were waiting for time and place to meet Ocampo,” the source who sought anonymity said.

Mr Ruto\’s departure came as Lands Minister James Orengo, who is a member of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on ICC-related matters revealed that alleged perpetrators can decide to appear voluntarily before the prosecutor.

Mr Orengo said Kenya\’s post election violence suspects may be spared arrest by the International Criminal Court.  Instead, they will be asked to voluntarily appear before The Hague court to answer charges of crimes against humanity.

Key witnesses have been moved to foreign countries under the witness protection programme in readiness for the ICC prosecutions.

In May, Mr Ocampo said that he would pursue two sets of crimes and in each prosecute two to three suspects; those that were committed by sponsored militias and other gangs and those committed by state agencies.

A report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights implicated Ruto in the violence that followed Kenya\’s disputed December 2007 presidential election results during which more than 1,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of other displaced.

He and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta moved to court to have their names expunged from the report.

Mr Ocampo is expected to visit the country early in December to receive a progress report from the ICC team of investigators.

The evidence gathered will guide the next step after the probe.


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