NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22- The committee of legal experts formed to advise the government following the confirmation of charges against four Kenyans by the International Criminal Court wants the government to consider the appointment of an independent ‘special prosecutor’ for all the post-election violence cases, including those involving the four ICC accused.,
In a statement from Attorney General Githu Muigai’s office, the committee also advised: “That the government of Kenya should consider providing clear terms of reference for the special prosecutor which would require the special prosecutor to progress without any further delay all investigations into PEV crimes.”
The special prosecutor will also be required to deal with the investigations in respect of the four accused against whom charges have been confirmed by the ICC and to complete all investigations in a fixed and defined time period.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang all had their cases confirmed by a majority ruling of the Pre-Trial chamber in January.
The committee has advised that engagement of a special prosecutor would not require the creation of a special court or chamber as the existing court system under the new Constitution is able to try such cases, although its capacity needs to be enhanced to try such cases as might be entrusted to a special prosecutor.
This proposal on the special prosecutor seems informed by the failure of previous attempts by the government to establish a local tribunal due to inability by Parliament to pass the pre-requisite laws.
The committee also wants the government to undertake as a priority, an audit of all PEV cases- including those involving the four accused against whom charges have been confirmed by the ICC.
It also advised the government to continue co-operating with the ICC, as well as seeking assistance from the court under the provisions of the ICC Statute and through diplomatic channels.
“The government of Kenya has co-operated substantially with the ICC in the ICC’s investigation phase and has thereafter complied with, and is in the process of dealing with all requests made by the ICC in accordance with the its obligations and its own national laws and should continue,” read the statement from the AG.
The team also wants the Kenyan Witness Protection Programme be fully resourced and made fully operational in order better to guarantee that there will be no impediment in the way of investigation or trial of any person suspected of involvement in the post election violence.
It further said that policy on reparations based on internationally accepted approaches and Kenyan law should be adopted by government and that such a policy should prioritise urgent interim measures that provide immediate assistance, services and facilities to all categories of victims.
The committee named as the working committee was composed of lawyers Geoffrey Nice and Rodney Dixon from the United Kingdom.
Other members of the team put together by Muigai at the direction of President Kibaki are Betty Murungi, Henry Mutai, Fred Ojiambo, Joe Okwach, Waweru Gatonye, Lucy Kambuni, Grace Wakio and Godfrey Musila.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s legal adviser Paul Mwangi was also incorporated into the team.