Tana killings amount to international crimes – experts

September 22, 2012 10:56 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 – Kenya has the capacity to handle the Tana clashes according to experts.

However there are constraints that it has to grapple with in its quest to seek justice in the violence that left over 200 people dead within three weeks.

According to some civil society groups, crimes committed meet the threshold within the international crimes act under the Rome Statute.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko during an interview with Capital FM News was in agreement that the killings were massive and systematic qualifying them as international crimes against humanity.

“There is no doubt that the crimes meet international threshold when we look at the number of deaths including the killing of police officers… the number of those injured and destruction of property. They were also systematic in which counter attacks were executed,” he asserted.

Tobiko however says the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of Inquiry into the clashes and police investigations will determine if they amount to international crimes against humanity or not.

According to him under the principle of cooperation, the ICC has an obligation to assist national authorities to build their own capacities, “depending on the outcome of the inquiry and police investigations, we cannot rule out whether we may seek for skills and competences. The situation is still developing.”

However, he does not see the necessity of the ICC to come in since it is a court of last resort that only steps in if the member state has refused to instigate a local process.

Law Society of Kenya Chairman Eric Mutua however disagrees that the crimes meet the international crimes threshold. “I don’t think the crimes meet ICC threshold. The reasons for killings are scramble for grazing land and crops. Even though a political influence has presented itself in the attacks, the attacks were not systematic and organised.”

Attorney General Githu Muigai has also told Capital FM News that the crimes committed were severe, “they were heinous crimes which constituted murder on a very large scale in an unprovoked and unjustifiable manner.”

But whether they are international crimes or not, Tobiko feels that the government has demonstrated the political willingness to investigate and punish those behind the barbaric acts.

Muigai shares same thoughts that the government is committed to resolving issues that led to the clashes and also investigate and punish those behind the cruel crimes.

Part 1 | Part 2

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