NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 25 – Former Police Commissioner Mohammed Hussein Ali has broken his studious silence and announced his delight after the International Criminal Court (ICC) declined to confirm his charges of crimes against humanity.
Ali told a news conference in Nairobi that although he was pleased at being set free, he does not regret “at all” the work he did while at the helm of the Kenyan police which saw ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo accuse him of murder, deportation or forcible transfer, rape and other forms of sexual violence; as well as other inhumane acts and persecution after the disputed presidential election of 2007.
“I am proud to have served Kenyans as the commissioner of police. I am proud of the work I did for Kenya and I therefore cannot have any regrets, whatsoever. As a Kenyan I was serving my fellow Kenyans,” he told reporters, often smiling at cameras in a rare gesture from a man known for his military demeanour.
Ali, a retired Major General was facing charges in the second Kenyan case alongside Public Service chief ambassador Francis Muthaura and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta whose cases were confirmed.
“I am grateful and I indeed welcome the decision by the Pre-Trial chamber judges for declining to confirm charges against me. As it were, this decision was made based on facts and evidence we provided,” Ali who is currently serving as the Postmaster General said.
The Pre-Trial Chamber II in a majority ruling acquitted him on Monday together with former Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey who was in the first case, leaving Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Journalist Joshua arap Sang to face trial.
Throughout the press conference that took nearly an hour, Ali could not hide his joy as he sat in the company of lawyers Evans Monari, Gerishom Otachi and Christine Duba who mounted a spirited defence for him at The Hague where they worked with colleagues John Philpot and Gregory Kehoe to get him off the hook.
“Although I have been acquitted, I wish Uhuru, Muthaura, Sang and Ruto all the best as they proceed with their cases. I am confident therefore, that going forward I like any other Kenyan, justice will have been done on the basis of evidence and facts and that is what all Kenyans, including myself crave for.”
He also wished the best for all the people affected by the country’s deadly violence which claimed the lives of at least 1,300 people and displaced half a million others, mainly in the Rift Valley, Nairobi, Nyanza and Central Provinces.
“I wish the victims and IDPs wherever they are all the best in the days to come,” Ali said, speaking for the first time publicly about the charges that he faced at the war crimes court. He has kept a low profile since the beginning of last year when he was publicly notified of the charges against him.
The former police boss also explained his low-profile public appearance during the ICC process: “I did not avoid the media; I have no reason to avoid people at all. It presupposes that a fellow who avoids people has something to hide. I did not avoid anybody at all at any time on this matter.”
He said he was grateful to “all patriotic Kenyans, and particularly members of the Kenya police for the sacrifice and efforts not only during that sad period but on an everyday basis. We are very grateful for them and we thank them for their sacrifice and the risks they continue to take.”
He declined to comment on Ocampo’s future move after the prosecutor said he would not appeal the acquittal, but would continue investigating his perceived role in the violence.