, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6 – He is not the ordinary lawyer you find anywhere in the world.
Karim Khan QC has stood out as the intrepid lawyer who never minces his words or shies away from speaking his mind.
He initially led a defence team comprising international lawyers Shyamala Alagendra and Essa Faal to defend former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura.
At the time, he termed the prosecution’s case as weak and had no chances of securing a conviction.
“Even dressing up the prosecutor’s case in Sunday best, it will still be in tatters!’ he asserted.
On March, 2013, the prosecution withdrew charges against Muthaura over lack of evidence.
On Tuesday he added yet another successful representation of a high level case after ICC Judges vacated charges against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto whom he has been representing.
He describes the Kenyan cases as a fallacy by former Prosecutor Lius Moreno Ocampo who he accuses of rushing to press charges without evidence.
“If prosecutor Ocampo had done his job he would never have gone for these individuals – Muthaura was number one on the charge sheet – rubbish.”
According to Khan, all the cases lacked the minimum evidence to proceed to any level of a judicial process.
“I thought I would not see a case that was more false than that until I came to represent the Deputy President and I was shocked and I thought it can’t be worse than Muthaura and the President’s case but Ruto’s case was worse,” he complained.
During an interview with Capital FM News in Nairobi, he recalled how he got to represent Ruto.
“Once upon a time when I left Muthaura’s case, the Deputy President gave me a great compliment when he wanted to instruct me. He said; you act like a Kenyan, I viewed that as an honour,” Khan recalled.
But what gives him the confidence he exhibits when telling off the prosecution and claiming the innocence of his clients?
“As a lawyer, we are the voice of clients, we are there as officers of the court to do justice and when you believe in something and when you see the truth I think you have a duty to the administration of justice to be fearless in the course of justice.”
He attributes his motivation to defend Muthaura and Ruto to his conviction that they were falsely before the court.
“It is my privilege that I had the honour in Kenya and realise that people were charged that were completely innocent – if that doesn’t make a lawyer make submissions with vigour, with belief – you may as well go to a coffin and go to the grave.”
Handling the Kenyan cases, Khan says, brought him closer to the people and helped him appreciate the diversity the country enjoys through various cultures.
“Safaris are so beautiful in Kenya. So why not go to the Maasai Mara and enjoy your wildlife?” he wondered.
“My link with Kenya is not because of the cases, the cases have given me a privilege to get to know Kenya a little bit more and know Kenyans. Kenya is a lovely country, and I love the people, they are so kind to me and to my team.”
“I always feel that sense of debt for the kindness of Kenyans, of all communities and of all parties,” Khan added.
The lawyer hopes his connection with country will always last.
“Regardless of cases I hope very much and I in fact pray very much to God that I will be blessed that my link with Kenya can remain. Because it is a link that is wider than the cases, it is with the people,” he said.
His wish is that though Kenya suffered following the 2007 disputed presidential poll, people will reconcile and focus on a united future.
In his view, a lot of energy has been focused on negativities about Kenya and turning a blind eye to the achievements.
“It’s very easy to be very critical of Kenya, but at the same time we need to be moderate and applaud what is good in Kenya and not just to bash it as if it’s all rubbish, because the outside world has been given a very wrong impression of Kenya because of the ICC cases – the real Kenya is beautiful and is a country that nobody wants to leave.”
Khan will soon handle yet another Kenyan case in which he will represent two communities allegedly tortured by British soldiers during the colonial period.
“I have the privilege of being instructed by the communities of the Kipsigis and Talai in relation to possible claims colonial mistreatment of Kenyans prior to independence. We will look at evidence in regards to that.”
He will represent over 5,000 members of those communities in a case in which they are seeking for a Sh1 trillion suit from Britain for violations of human rights committed against them during the colonial period.