Security chiefs lock horns with ICC

December 7, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 7 – Nine security chiefs summoned to record statements with ICC investigators must still do so on December 20, regardless of the application they have filed in The Hague seeking to stop the process.

Justice Kalpana Rawal who has been designated by the government to oversee the testimonies in Nairobi, ruled on Tuesday that she would not postpone the statement-taking any further because it has been delayed twice since last month.

The process was scheduled to kick off on Tuesday morning but lawyers acting for the security chiefs applied to have it put off to enable them follow up an application they have filed in The Hague, seeking an assurance that none of them would be prosecuted over the post election violence.

"I have agonised over this application and doing the best, I direct that I give time to the applicants up to 19th December 2010 to prepare to proceed with the proceedings with or without the finalisation of the application before ICC," Justice Rawal ruled.

She said she was increasingly concerned because the process had been postponed several times as a result of last-minute applications by the lawyers.

"What I want is to express my strong displeasure on the fact that at all times, the recourse is made at the last moment and the proceedings have failed to proceed," she said in her eight-page ruling.

Justice Rawal said she would summon three officials who served in Coast and Central Provinces at the time of the post-election violence to record their statements beginning December 20 to 23.

They include Central Provincial Commissioner Japhter Rugut and his Coast counterpart Ernest Munyi as well as King\’ori Mwangi who was the Provincial Police chief in Coast at the time.

"I shall begin the proceedings, I shall direct that their summons be accordingly extended," she stated in her ruling.

The judge said the officials would be required to report to the Anniversary Towers 22nd floor at 9 am where the ICC court is sitting.

Other security officials who will appear before the ICC detectives on subsequent dates include Paul Olando (Western Province PC) former Rift Valley PC Hassan Noor Hassan, Njue Njagi who served as Nairobi PPO, Joseph Ashimala who served as Rift Valley PPO and Grace Kaindi who served as PPO in Nyanza Province.

Lawyers from Ogetto, Otachi and Co Advocates and Daly and Figgis who are representing the security officials have filed an application before the ICC pre-trial chambers judges seeking a declaration the security chiefs will not be compelled to testify.

They are also seeking an order staying any decision on a possible application by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo for the issuance of indictments in relation to the 2007/08 violence until such a time that the applicants are in a position to record statements which will then be provided to the Office of The Prosecutor.

They also want a declaration that the determination on the issues of compellability and rights of persons during investigations by the pre-trial chamber supersedes the decisions of the Justice Rawal\’s court.

The pre-trial chamber judges are yet to consider the application filed there on Thursday last week.

In her ruling delivered in Nairobi on Tuesday, Justice Rawal said: "It is now time for the applicants to meet their declared intention to give evidence which shall be under the protection of law and under the watchful eyes of their counsel and this Judge."

The lawyers have however, indicated they will rely on the ruling of the pre-trial chamber judges to guide the statement-taking process in Nairobi.

"The judge has ruled that she will wait for the ruling of the pre-trial chamber on the application which we have filed. So that is where we are," Evans Monari, one of the lawyers said.

Kennedy Ogeto of Otachi, Ogetto and Co. Advocates said: "We are waiting for the ruling of the application we filed in The Hague, that is what will guide our process."

The two lawyers have applied for visas to enable them travel to the Netherlands to pursue the application.


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