Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo has dismissed claims that Kofi Annan’s decision to hand over names of post-election violence suspects to the International Criminal Court caught the government by surprise.
He accused some leaders and the press of making misleading statements on the issue.
By handing over the envelope to ICC Prosecutor Mr Luis Moreno Ocampo, Mr Annan was only “satisfying” himself, said Mr Mutula.
“He did not ambush Kenya as some are implying.”
Mr Mutula made it clear that during the meeting at Geneva the Kenya delegation agreed to allow Mr Ocampo to start preliminary investigations on the suspects based on three issues.
“The government accepted this and confirmed that ICC can start the preliminary investigations,” Mr Kilonzo told journalists at Cotu headquarters’ in Nairobi on Monday where he had gone to pay the trade union leadership a courtesy call.
The first issue, he said, was to establish whether the post-election violence suspects had committed crimes against humanity.
He is also expected in his initial findings to establish whether there was genocide or war crimes committed by the suspects during the violence that left at least 1,000 people dead.
It is after confirming whether the three offences were committed that Mr Ocampo will act, the minister further explained.
The preliminary investigations will only determine whether the alleged crimes fall within Mr Ocampo’s jurisdiction.
“This is why he needed the envelope,” Mr Kilonzo said.
The other ministers in the Geneva team were: James Orengo (Lands) and his Internal Security counterpart Prof George Saitoti.
Mr Kilonzo said that if the ICC prosecutor confirms that none of the crimes were committed during the post-election violence, he cannot act because apart from the three offences, any other crime is not within his jurisdiction.
Crimes that are not within the ICC mandate can only be dealt with using local mechanisms, said Mr Kilonzo.
Lands minister James Orengo was quoted in our sister publication the Sunday Nation saying Annan betrayed and ambushed the Geneva delegation.
Later, Mr Orengo disowned the statement and defended Mr Annan’s decision to hand over the names of the suspects to the ICC.