, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 5 – The Government of Kenya has announced that it will in the coming days launch the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court of Kenya to address crimes similar to those committed in 2007/8.
According to Attorney General Githu Muigai, the government is further putting in place a programme to compensate and re-settle victims of the Post Election Violence.
“We are going in a week or so – the Chief Justice and the Judicial Service Commission will be launching the stepping up of the ICD. I have personally been a great supporter of a domestic mechanism to deal with any problems of the nature of the crimes that took place,” he stated.
He further explained that it will be in the interest of the government to ensure that there is capacity to deal with crimes such as those committed following the 2007 disputed presidential poll.
Muigai regretted that the ICC intervened because the country did not have the capacity to deal with the violence.
“We hope this will provide us with enough domestic capacity that we will never have to even undergo this sort of traumatic external process again.”
While welcoming the ruling of the ICC judges that terminated the case against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang, Muigai said the court had finally admitted that the case had not met the ICC threshold and that it indeed lacked evidence to sustain it.
“The government is relieved that this matter that had been highly politicised by many forces outside the court has received a judicial resolution. The court itself looking at the evidence and the law has arrived at a judicial decision which vindicates the position taken by the government since the case started.”
According to Muigai, the government will now fully concentrate on matters of fostering reconciliation and developing the country, since the burden brought by the ICC was off the shoulders of the deputy president.
“We welcome this closure to this aspect of the case so that we may concentrate on what remains to be done in reconciliation and healing, resettlement of victims, compensation and to put in place judicial mechanism to ensure that this sort of problem may never arise again in the history of Kenya,” he stated.
Victims Legal Representative Wilfred Nderitu earlier on Tuesday urged the government to ensure justice is delivered to the over 1,000 people killed and the over 650,000 others displaced during 2007-2008 violence.
He asked the government to use the Sh10 billion restoration fund to help victims of the violence heal and also investigate what caused the violence and ensure it does not occur in future.
“It only opens another door for the government to keep its word. It is time for the government to launch the restoration fund it promised.” he stated.
The judges in their majority ruling vacated the charges against Ruto and Sang and discharged them from the ICC trial process.
However, they invited victims to submit their views regarding Tuesday’s announcement.
But Nderitu announced that he will not be appealing the decision since victims are only participants to the case.
Despite the acquittal, the judges however declared the proceedings in the case as mistrial ‘due to troubling incidence of witness interference and intolerable political meddling.’
It meant that the prosecutor was free to pursue the case against Ruto and Sang further if she wished to do so.