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Raila: Foreign judges must head local Tribunal

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 26 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga maintains that suspects in the 2008 post-election violence must be tried at the International Criminal Court, unless the government agrees to put in place a competent local mechanism controlled by foreign judges, prosecutors and investigators.

In an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), Mr Odinga said his Orange Democratic Movement party feared that a local justice system controlled by Kenyans would be manipulated by the suspects.

Earlier in the week, the PM had proposed that the American Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Scotland Yard Police should be invited to lead the investigations.

"The trial should proceed there (The Hague), until Kenya has put in place a competent local mechanism, which I don\’t think will be achievable," he told RNW.

Mr Odinga said his party was weary that its coalition partner, the Party of National Unity would not accept these stringent conditions of a local justice system.

"They are talking about a kangaroo court which they can manipulate to get these people (the six suspects) acquitted and that is not acceptable to us," he said.

His calls for foreigners to lead the investigations have brushed PNU members the wrong way who have accused him of undermining Kenya\’s sovereignty and its institutions.

On Tuesday ODM announced that it would sponsor a Bill to create a local Tribunal but Mr Odinga said this did not mean abandoning the ICC trials.

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"We haven\’t changed our mind," said Mr Odinga. "These are just people that try to misinterpret our position."

The decision to push a Bill for a local Tribunal was issued on Tuesday after a high-level ODM meeting.
"Putting up a Bill is a long process; it doesn\’t mean that we want to quit the ICC track at all!" said the PM in hi interview.

ODM is also divided on a proposal to pay legal fees for three of its members on the Ocampo Six list, who are expected to face trials at the International Criminal Court next month.

Last Thursday, a section of ODM members declared that the party would hire a legal defence team for Deputy Party Leader William Ruto, Chairman Henry Kosgey and Mr Sang who is said to be an ODM member.

Mr Ruto, Mr Kosgey and Mr Sang have been summoned to appear at The Hague court on April 7 over accusations they were key masterminds of the 2008 violence.

Others named include Head of Civil service Francis Muthaura, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Police Commission Major Hussein Ali who will make an appearance before the court on April 8.

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