, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12 – The 20-member multi-agency task force that is reviewing how post election violence cases are being handled locally is not mandated to salvage the four Kenyans facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko told Capital FM News it was the duty of the government to deliver justice to victims and punish direct perpetrators of the violence.
“This agency is not in any way working to assist the Ocampo 4; it actually has no bearing on this. It is the responsibility of the government to prosecute irrespective of the outcome of The Hague proceedings,” he explained.
Tobiko stressed that the ICC only deals with individuals charged with the highest responsibility, which leaves out the bulk of the direct perpetrators.
The DPP moreover clarified that it was important for the thousands of victims not participating in the ICC cases to also get justice locally.
Despite the good intentions of the government, he pointed out at challenges facing the task force among them fears by witnesses to give evidence involving the 5,500 cases that are still pending in the local justice system.
The taskforce is expected to handover its recommendations to the DPP by August this year.
The task force is also facing difficulties in cases where victims are not able to identify the persons who attacked them during the violence.
“Police have had serious logistical constraints. Witnesses were not available; some have been displaced. A number of them were afraid,” said Tobiko.
In view of the challenges being faced, Tobiko hailed the work of the police saying they had done their best in their investigations.
Out of the 6,000 cases filed, the DPP said 500 of them had gone through the prosecution process.
He also assured Kenyans that police officers who are accused of taking part in the violence will not be spared from prosecution and announced that already out of the 3,500 files received since the task force started its work in February, some involved the police.
“The police are not above the law. This matter cannot be entirely left to the police. That is why we have a multi-agency task force. We brought these agencies together so that police are not covering themselves,” he explained.
Some of the key concerns of the government are justice for the victims, reconciliation and peace for Kenya as well as prosecution of the perpetrators.
“We appreciate that the country is at a delicate moment. In addition to prosecution, alternatives resolutions like reconciliation should be employed. We need national healing. Prosecution is important but it cannot be the sole and exclusive tool. It has to be applied carefully so that one does not disrupt the fragile peace that has been restored,” Tobiko asserted.
Meanwhile, the DPP has warned Kenyans against engaging in criminal acts in the build up to the next general election.
He said relevant government organs will stringently deal with criminal activities similar to those that led to the 2008 violence.
Tobiko further assured Kenyans that his office will deal with middle and lower level perpetrators before the next general election to serve as a lesson to law and peace abusers who may think of engaging in violent acts again.
Despite efforts to investigate the 2008 violence, Tobiko raised concerns over financial and human resource limitations already facing his office and which may hamper prosecution of the post election violence cases.
He said the budget allocated was insufficient worsened by a shortfall of 810 prosecuting counsel.
In the current financial year, the DPP was allocated Sh350 million.
Tobiko said for the next financial year, his office requires Sh3.3 billion but will only get Sh800 million.
“We have serious constraints in terms of personnel. In our staffing level analysis… we require about 900 prosecuting counsel and we only have 90. We have huge budgetary deficit,” he noted.