, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 23 – President Mwai Kibaki has now instructed Attorney General Githu Muigai to set up a legal team to scrutinise the ICC verdict on the confirmation of charges against four of the six Kenyans accused of complicity in the 2008 post-poll chaos.
Speaking during a briefing at his Harambee House office, the president said the team should be able to look at the ruling in detail and give advice on the way forward as stipulated in the Constitution.
“I have with immediate effect directed the Attorney General to constitute a legal team to study the ruling and advice on the way forward. While the ICC process was underway, we enacted a new Constitution which substantially enhanced the capacity of our criminal justice system,” he stated.
President Kibaki pointed out that the current legal and administrative systems under the new Constitution were strong enough to deal with the situation.
“We now have a radically transformed Judiciary and an independent office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, a police service that is being fundamentally reformed and a functional Witness Protection Agency,” he said.
He urged Kenyans to remain calm following the ruling that sends four of the suspects to trial.
“It is now a collective responsibility of all those institutions to ensure justice for all at all times. In the meantime, I appeal to everyone to remain calm and peaceful. Our great nation has had its share of challenging times.”
Two leading Kenyan presidential candidates are among four suspects whose charges were confirmed by the ICC over deadly violence following disputed presidential polls in 2007.
The two are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto.
ICC presiding judge Ekaterina Trendafilova said the Pre-Trial Chamber II by a majority decision, also confirmed charges against Head of the Civil Service Ambassador Francis Muthaura and Kass FM Radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.
“After having thoroughly examined all the evidence presented by the prosecution, the chamber decided to confirm the charges against four of the six suspects,” Trendafilova said in a ruling televised from Courtroom I of the ICC in The Hague.
“The chamber found that there are substantial grounds to believe Mr Ruto is responsible as an indirect perpetrator of the crimes,” she said at the public presentation.
Both Ruto and Kenyatta are seen as leading challengers to Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the next presidential election, which is due to be held by March 2013 at the latest.
“With respect to the criminal responsibility of Mr Muthaura and Mr Kenyatta, the chamber was satisfied that the evidence also established substantial grounds to believe that they are criminally responsible for the alleged crimes, as indirect co-perpetrators, pursuant to article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute, having gained control over the Mungiki and directed them to commit the crimes,” the judges said.
On Ruto and Sang, the judges said Prosecutor Luis Moreno had satisfied the chamber that they indeed were direct co-perpetrators of the crimes they were charged with: “As to the criminal responsibility of Mr Ruto and Mr Sang, the chamber found, on the basis of the evidence presented, that they are responsible for the charges levied against them.”
In particular, the judges said: “Pre-Trial Chamber II confirmed the charges against Mr Ruto as an indirect co- perpetrator with others, pursuant to article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute, while it found that Mr Sang contributed to the commission of said crimes against humanity, pursuant to article 25(3)(d)(i), to the extent specified in the written decision.”
Ruto immediately dismissed the charges saying they remain ‘strange’ to him.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga also joined President Kibaki in calling for sobriety saying the four Kenyans facing war crimes charges at the ICC were still innocent.
In a brief statement sent to media houses, Odinga who is currently out of the country also urged Kenyans to remain calm and peaceful.
“Kenyans must wait for the final outcome of the process. I hope the ICC will deliver justice to the accused as well as the victims,” he said.
On his part, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka also urged Kenyans not to politicise the ruling.
“Proceeding to full trial does not mean that any of the four colleagues are guilty as charged, so we must allow due process of the law,” he said.
He claimed there was no law in Kenya that bars Uhuru and Ruto from running for president despite the ICC indictment.
“I know it’s the intention of others to implore the civil society to make all manners if statements but I want to urge sobriety,” he said.