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ODM letter jolts deferral bid

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 14 – The coalition government is once again playing out its internal differences on the international arena, after the Orange Democratic Movement wrote to the UN Security Council opposing a plan to defer the Kenya case at the International Criminal Court.

In the letter, ODM Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o terms the bid as “being incompetent and frivolous,” and engineered by part of the six suspects.

“Because of the significant positions held in and influence the suspects wield within Government, they are the ones spearheading the deferral request as a means of defeating the cause of justice,” the letter by Prof Nyong’o dated March 11 says.

He adds that: “Ultimately, the six suspects the ICC has summoned intend to use the deferral, if granted, as the basis of perpetuating the culture of impunity in Kenya,” he says in the letter addressed at the current President of the Security Council Li Baodong  of China, and copied to all 15 members of the Council.

Click here to read the letter in full.

The letter comes two days before the Council meets a government delegation for an informal meeting to discuss the deferral bid. Mr Li announced on Friday that the Council had agreed to hold "interactive dialogue" on the case on Wednesday with Kenya and officials from the African Union.

Kenya\’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Macharia Kamau will lead the delegation to the meeting.

The meeting follows a series of diplomatic meetings held by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka with the Council President and council members in New York and Washington.

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Upon his return to Kenya on Saturday, the VP said at least 10 nations out of 15 members had pledged to support a deferral while those opposed led by the US, UK and France were now open for talks.

However in the fresh twist of events, ODM is persuading the Council to reject the deferral on the basis that the government has not demonstrated willingness and capacity to deal with the perpetrators of the deadly violence that left over 1,500 dead and more than 600,000 displaced.

In a 16-point letter, Prof Nyong’o claims that “the Party of National Unity and President Mwai Kibaki are both unwilling and unable to prosecute the six suspects for the crimes alleged by the ICC.”

He adds that the prosecution of the Kenyan cases at the ICC does not pose any threat to international peace and security.

“To the contrary, failure to bring to justice the perpetrators of post-election violence poses grave danger to Kenya’s internal peace and security,” he says.

The party says the ICC trials are supported by a majority of Kenyans according to surveys by leading pollsters in the country.

“Local trials will be exposed to political manipulation by leaders pleading the ethnic card, threats to witnesses, their families and friends and undue delays engineered by frivolous and vexatious applications,” adds the letter.

President Mwai Kibaki successfully lobbied the African Union to support the one-year deferral and give the country the opportunity to deal with the violence after successive reforms within the judiciary and security forces.

Prior to the AU meeting in January, the VP had crisscrossed the continent as a special envoy of the President, a move criticised by ODM and the civil society.

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The President had based his argument on three impending judicial appointments. However his nominations of Justice Visram to the position of new Chief Justice and Githu Muigai as well as Kioko Kilukumi to the positions of Attorney-General and Director of Public Prosecutions respectively hit a snag after they were rejected by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and a host of civil society organisations.

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