State plan to shield ICC suspects faulted

January 17, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 17- The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has criticised the government’s plans to finance the legal defence of two individuals named by the International Criminal Court Prosecutor as masterminds of the post election violence, on grounds that they are civil servants.

KNCHR Commissioner Hassan Omar Hassan argued that the suspects should each bear their own crosses as the crimes preferred against them were individual and not state responsibilities.

Mr Hassan told Capital News that the proposal would breed a culture of impunity and non-accountability in the country.  

“One believes that government policy is driven by popular view so when the government wants to support these individuals let it be done from individual kitties not from tax payers (funds). It is wrong in law and it is wrong in morality for them to present that notion,” he argued.

He also accused the government of mixing its priorities saying it should first resettle the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who have been living in camps since the chaos.

“It’s been about three years now and we still have IDPs. The government continues saying that the lack of resources is to blame so for them to find the same resources to support the other side of the coin is to totally miss the point,” he said.

Mr Hassan further rubbished plans by parliamentarians to withdraw Kenya from the Rome Statute saying they were selfish.

He criticised the lawmakers for politicising the process arguing that it could not be manipulated.

“Let us wait for the ICC process to take its course rather than be speculative. One of the things we have to keep in mind is that justice operates in a political context such that even when we prosecute leaders for corruption, people still say the process is political,” he charged.

The lawmakers plan to introduce a Bill in Parliament that will see Kenya pull out of the ICC after overwhelmingly voting against its mechanisms last year.

The leaders have accused ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo of politicising the Kenyan case.

But Mr Hassan challenged persons who felt dissatisfied with the manner in which the ICC investigations were being conducted to raise their objections at The Hague.

“The court will sieve the evidence collected by the Prosecutor so if they feel he was biased then they should prove it before the Pre-Trial Chamber. Why should we fight Ocampo as if he was one of the village elders?” he quipped.
The private sector-led Kenya Human Rights Commission also took issue with Parliament’s move to withdraw Kenya from the Rome statute saying it would tarnish the country’s image abroad.

Executive Director Muthoni Wanyeki said Kenyans should protest against any such move by the law makers.

“It is ridiculous; I don’t think Parliament realises how much Kenya will lose in international standing if it proceeds on those sorts of grounds. Secondly the evidence is really clear at this point; there is no willingness to prosecute these cases here,” she said.  

Ms Wanyeki also reiterated calls to the government to resettle IDPs before paying any legal fees for the post election violence suspects.

She also warned politicians against ethnicising the ICC process saying it would divide Kenyans along social lines.

Follow the author at


Latest Articles

Most Viewed