Dutch embassy assures Kenyans on visas

December 7, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 7 – The Dutch Embassy on Tuesday assured Kenyans who want to visit the Netherlands that they would get visas if they follow due procedures of their applications.

In an interview with Capital News, Dutch Ambassador Laetitia van den Assum said the embassy was keen to support the International Criminal Court (ICC) process and had not and would not deny anyone a visa.

“In future anyone who comes to trials when they are victims, witnesses, family members of victims and accused and who want to witness the procedures will also be assisted by us,” she said.

Ms Assum said as long as due procedures were followed the embassy would give interested parties visas to visit The Hague court.

She said since the Netherlands was host of the international court, the Kenyan embassy would not want to frustrate its judicial processes.

“We have our regular procedures for visa applications. This takes normally two to three working days. If we know that someone has an appointment with the ICC, we can actually try to speed it up and that is what we do. We really want to facilitate the proper functioning of the ICC,” she said.

She further said the two lawyers who claim they were denied visas presented their applications last Thursday afternoon but it was not possible for them to get the visas after a day.

“We never denied a visa to anyone… not the lawyers. In this case visa applications were received here very late on Thursday afternoon. One day was not enough for us, we could not issue them on Friday,” she said.

She added that although the visas could have been issued on Monday morning, the two lawyers did not pursue the matter.

She expressed disappointment that the lawyers were wrongly accusing the embassy of interfering with the justice system of the ICC: “I was disappointed and surprised that allegations were made as if we were trying to influence the process of justice.”

On Monday lawyers representing security chiefs who are required to record statements before the ICC alleged they were frustrated by the Dutch embassy which had denied them visas to travel to The Hague to represent their clients.

The lawyers from Ogetto, Otachi and Co Advocates and Daly and Figgis said they lodged their visa applications on Wednesday and were yet to be approved.

Mr Monari said they were not been given satisfactory explanation by officials at the Dutch Embassy why their visas had not been approved, six days after they lodged the application.

However, according to the Embassy, the lawyers sent their applications on Thursday afternoon.



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