ODM roots for ICC referral with local Tribunal

March 22, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 22 – The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has softened its stand on the trial of the Ocampo Six and is now backing a referral – where the International Criminal Court sends back cases to the state party – if a credible local Tribunal is set up.

The decision was reached after a Parliamentary Group and National Executive Council meeting at Orange House chaired by Party Leader Raila Odinga.

Parliamentary Group Secretary Ababu Namwamba told a media briefing that they had resolved to ensure that the new constitution is fully implemented as scheduled.

"ODM reconfirms the party\’s often stated position that in the event of a credible local Tribunal, the ICC process should be referred. The party is prepared to sponsor a Bill to fast rack this process," Mr Namwamba said.

He claimed that despite the party pushing for the formation of the Tribunal, evidence from Parliament\’s Hansard showed very clearly that a number of MPs now fighting The Hague were opposed to the formation of the local Tribunal.

Party Secretary General Prof  Anyang\’ Nyong\’o also echoed Mr Namwamba\’s sentiments saying they would ask for a referral of the cases if the country formed a credible local Tribunal.

Prof Nyong\’o defended the party\’s apparent change of heart claiming that the party had been supporting the Hague option because there was no local Tribunal adding that the police had not been able to gather credible evidence as they are also mentioned in the post election violence case.

The party has been opposed to a deferral (12-month suspension) of the cases which the government through Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has been lobbying for.

Their stand comes hardly three weeks after the party through Prof Nyong\’o wrote to the United Nations Security Council declaring their support for the ICC process and urged it not to allow the deferral of the cases.

The council however in its informal session last week declined to grant Kenya\’s\’ request to defer the case for a year.

About 65 MPs attending the ODM meeting expressed support for the Premier in his push on reforms and the implementation of the Constitution during this transition period.

The party urged MPs to participate in debates before the House aimed at implementation of the Constitution to ensure that they are complete before the next general elections.

Speaking elsewhere, ODM Deputy Leader William Ruto who did not attend the meeting said that the party should be consistent on its stand on the ICC trials.

Mr Ruto who is among the Ocampo Six suspects said: "It is only unfortunate that they do have a clear understanding of where they want to be and it demonstrates to us, their position is not informed by any commitment but by shifting political considerations. Who knows what they are going to say tomorrow?"

"I would like to give them a piece of advice that they should go and look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves what it is that they are doing."

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