Panic as ICC Swings Into Action

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A day after former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan handed over the envelope with the list of post-election violence suspects to The Hague, the International Criminal Court (ICC) swung into action and set up a team to deal with the Kenyan case.
Luis Moreno Ocampo

A team of 14 professionals was identified to look into the files of perpetrators of post-election violence, The Standard on Saturday has authoritatively learnt.

It has also emerged that Attorney-General Amos Wako has prepared an updated report on the investigation and prosecution for ICC Chief Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo.

ICC Director of Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division Beatrice Le Fraper Du Hellen told The Standard on Saturday in an exclusive telephone interview that 14 professionals have been enlisted to look at the reports that would be handed over by the Government.

Ms Hellen said there would be no preferential treatment or bias against Kenya.

Same standards
"We have to apply to Kenya the same standards we apply to other countries," said Hellen.
She disclosed that the AG had assured Mr Ocampo that he would soon send police files to The Hague for analysis that could lead to possible investigations.

Hellen noted that by June next year, the ICC would be ready with information to begin investigation against the perpetrators.

"The Kenyan delegation that visited our office in The Hague told us if they are unable to commence investigations on the perpetrators, they will officially hand over the case to us in June 2010," she said.

However, Hellen hoped the Government would speed up the establishment of a special tribunal as recommended by Justice Philip Waki.

Ocampo, in an exclusive interview with our sister broadcasting station KTN earlier in the week, confirmed that the ICC was already collecting information to establish whether crimes against humanity were committed during post-election violence last year.

"In the next one month, in September, the Kenyan delegation promised to be back with a detailed plan. For now, let us wait and see," said Ocampo
And on Friday, Dr Annan, who was the chief mediator in the post-election dispute, clarified that he was not angered by the agreement between Kenya and the ICC.

Through his spokesperson Nasser Ega Musa, Annan said he has had "cordial and pleasant deliberations" with the Kenyan delegation.

Annan said he would continue to support the process for the establishment of a special tribunal.
Last October, Annan received the Waki report and a secret list containing names of State and non-State suspects who are alleged to have funded and planned last year’s chaos.

The Government was expected to set up a tribunal with local international judges and prosecutors. Justice Waki, who chaired the commission that investigated the violence, recommended that if the tribunal were not set up, then the list would be forwarded to the ICC.

Local tribunal
Early this year, however, Parliament shot down the Bill that would have established the tribunal. Many MPs’ clarion call was: Let’s not be vague; let’s go The Hague.
Annan put off the deadline to give Kenya an opportunity to set up the tribunal. But last month, a delegation comprising Cabinet ministers Mutula Kilonzo and James Orengo and AG Amos Wako met Annan in Geneva and Ocampo at The Hague.

The ICC prosecutor and the delegation agreed to give the Government another chance. Kenya was to by September send a report to Ocampo on what it had done since the chaos.
But at a Press conference on Thursday after news broke that Annan had handed over the envelope, Mutula, Orengo and Wako disclosed that they had already done so.

Fast and furious
And on Friday, reaction to the handing over of the envelope by Annan was fast and furious. Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto said the Government should not cede its sovereignty to foreign powers. Mr Ruto said Annan and Ocampo should not dictate on issues that can be resolved locally.

"Parliament shall remain independent and asserts the position that Kenya is a sovereign State even if some Government officials want to cede some ground to foreign elements," Ruto said.
Speaking in Bomet, Ruto said Parliament would not pass laws on the basis of agreements that make the country owe allegiance to foreigners.

"America cannot make us accept Rome statutes which it is not even a signatory to," he said
But Assistant Minister Omingo Magara says Kenyans had no choice but to accept Annan’s decision.
Speaking in his South Mugirango Constituency, Mr Magara castigated MPs for shooting down a Bill seeking to establish a local tribunal that would have tried even petty offenders. 

He added: "Regardless of who is in the list from ODM or PNU, if trying them at The Hague will reduce impunity, then so be it. After all, I don’t know whether Mutula will do anything new that he has not done before," Magara said.

The International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) has hit out at the Government over the ICC issue.
Co-ordinator Ndung’u Wainaina said the way Attorney-General Amos Wako handled the matter was evidence of "ineptitude and subversion of justice" on the part of the State.

He claimed it had led to "serious embarrassment to the Kenyan people through Annan’s action of transmitting post-election violence suspects and evidence to the ICC".