Kenya, other states to submit ICC cooperation reports

December 5, 2013 8:58 am
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Reverend Sam Kobia, a member of the JSC who chairs the five-member committee charged with the task of forming the special court, assured that plans are at an advanced stage to set it up/FILE
Reverend Sam Kobia, a member of the JSC who chairs the five-member committee charged with the task of forming the special court, assured that plans are at an advanced stage to set it up/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 5 – Following conclusion of the 12th Assembly of States Parties conference in The Hague last week, countries which have ratified the Rome Statute are now expected to submit reports on the complementarity progress.

A resolution from the assembly mandates international organisations and civil society organisations to also file reports on the level of complementarity by member states.

“The resolution on complementarity called again upon states, international organisations and civil society as well as the court to submit information on their complementarity related activities to the secretariat, the organ tasked by the assembly to continue the facilitation of exchange of information on this topic,” a resolution of the States Parties reads in part.

Kenya is among countries expected to submit a report on what it has done so far to complement the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) where its two top leaders-President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang are facing crimes against humanity charges.

During the States Parties meeting held between November 19 and 28, Attorney General Githu Muigai announced that the Kenyan government was in the process of establishing an International Crimes Division (ICD) at the High Court, to complement The Hague-based court in trying middle-level perpetrators of the 2007-08 post election violence.

The AG and Reverend Sam Kobia, a member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) who chairs the five-member committee charged with the task of forming the special court, have assured that plans are at an advanced stage to set it up.

“Everything is being done to ensure the court is up and running in Kenya, this is a commitment by the government,” the AG said, at a forum on the sidelines of the assembly.

Kobia on his part said things will start taking shape from the beginning of next year.

He was non-committal on when they expect to have the special court in place.

“We are in the process of putting up all the administrative structures in place, as at now I cannot say that we have the ICD in place, it will start taking shape from January next year,” Kobia said.

Kenya’s Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has previously stated that the establishment of the ICD was facing financial challenges.

“There will be great challenges to be surmounted in the establishment of the Division as the cost of setting it up and operationalising it at the expected international standards is enormous. Therefore the Government of Kenya will be expected to resource it adequately in addition to seeking financial and technical support from development partners,” the CJ stated.

Kenya’s High Court under Section 8 of the International Crimes Act has the jurisdiction to conduct trials over persons who are responsible for international crimes committed locally or abroad by a Kenyan, or committed in any place against a Kenyan.

Once established, the special court will handle cross-border crimes like piracy, human trafficking and drug trafficking among others.

The government has said that although the special court is likely to handle some of the post election violence cases, it is not aimed at taking over cases currently before the ICC.

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