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ICC process unstoppable, cautions envoy

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 14 – The establishment of a local tribunal to try perpetrators of post election violence will not stop Kenya’s case at the International Criminal Court (ICC), German ambassador Margit Hellwig cautioned on Tuesday.

She said the ICC was dealing with high-level suspects while the local tribunal would try those responsible for other crimes.

“The ICC is very much on process and for the time being I don’t think there is a possibility to stop (it),” she said.

She however emphasised the importance of establishing a local tribunal to deal with those who physically took part in the crimes, arguing that those who participated in the skirmishes need to face justice.

Ms Hellwig told Capital news that a local tribunal alongside the ICC process would be most appropriate to ensure both major and minor perpetrators were made to answer for their actions in the violence that claimed 1,500 people and displaced about 350,000 others.

She also urged for understanding of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission saying it would be important in healing and dealing with past injustices with the aim of reconciling Kenyans, while a local tribunal would investigate the post election violence with the aim of bringing justice to victims and punishing perpetrators at the low level.

In the meantime, the German envoy said there should not be undue anxiety among Kenyans as ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo releases the names of the six key suspects on Wednesday afternoon.

Ms Hellwig said the six individuals are merely suspects and should not be perceived to be guilty until the court gives its ruling after legal proceedings.

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“There is a lot of hype in the media. I really would like to see this process dealt with in a decent and more down-to-earth manner. When the potential suspects are named, this means they are summoned to The Hague, they are not yet convicted,” she said.

She said it was important for the public and especially the media to understand that naming of the suspects is part of a long legal process which will take time to determine if those who will be named are guilty or not.

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