ICC probe: Rawal to summon 10 security chiefs

Wednesday November 3 2010

Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal said ten witnesses will be summoned to record statements over Kenya's post-election violence on or before Tuesday November 3, 2010.

Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal said ten witnesses will be summoned to record statements over Kenya's post-election violence on or before Tuesday November 3, 2010.  

By LUCAS BARASA

Ten witnesses will be summoned to record statements over Kenya's post-election violence on or before Tuesday.

Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal, who was mandated to assist the International Criminal Court in taking the witnesses' statements, said Wednesday that the first witness is expected top appear before her on November 24.

“I shall be able to issue summons on or before 8th of this month. On 17th November we shall have a conference to know how the process is going. The first witness will give his statement on November 24,” she said during a news conference at Anniversary Towers where the team will be based.

Justice Rawal announced that a review of progress made would be held on November 17.

“This press conference is the last one as our work will be done in confidence,” the Judge said after a second meeting with lawyers who will represent the witnesses whom she described as security officials.

Lady Justice Rawal also met ICC officials before meeting the lawyers.

She said her team’s work is not a trial “but to assist the witnesses give evidence".

“Ours is to assist the ICC get facts which you know. The lawyers are going to assist me,” she said.

Lady Justice Rawal said the statement taking could take two to three days and that it targets 10 witnesses required by the ICC.

“The evidence is to assist the ICC,” she said, but refused to disclose what exactly the team would be seeking to know from the witnesses saying they were confidential.

She said her team has already received summary of the requirements from ICC.

“I have been given the law. We have to follow the law,” she said.

She added that the witnesses will not be forced to answer any questions.

The Judge barred journalists from identifying the ICC officials in the country. The media has been carrying pictures of the ICC officials, exposing them to possible security threats.

Lady Justice Rawal quipped to journalists covering the press conference at 22nd floor: "I direct you not to identify the ICC officers. Is that okay?

The journalists responded in the affirmative.

She said journalists have to be careful as ICC investigations are private and that anyone who identifies the officials will be dealt with.

During the meeting, Justice Rawal spelled out the procedure to be followed in taking the statements.

The ICC team explained to the lawyers the nature of questions to be put to their clients in order to help them advise the security chiefs.

The statements are critical in the investigation into the post-election violence and will play a big part in building a case against the masterminds.

Lawyers Ken Ogeto, Jack Muriuki and Evans Monari have been retained to represent some provincial police officers and provincial commissioners from areas worst hit by the violence.

Mr Ogeto said his clients were ready to record statements.

Last month, the ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told journalists at the ICC that a prominent Kenyan had offered to surrender to the court if required to do so.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC prosecutor, is expected to visit Kenya in two weeks.

Officers from the State Law Office led by Chief Public prosecutor Keriako Tobiko will take part in the statement taking.

Lady Justice Rawal has since said witnesses who will turn out to be suspects would be stood down from the witness box.

Security chiefs who gave illegal orders will be put on their defence.

“The speed with which we have accomplished the ground work is unprecedented,” she said Wednesday.

The Judge said the team will conduct regular media briefings on the proceedings of her team.

She pointed out that the government will team up with the Hague court to protect some witnesses.

Once summoned, a witness will have 15 days within which to give evidence. Mr Moreno-Ocampo plans to use the statements of the government officials to prepare his application for arrest warrants against six individuals he accuses of masterminding the violence.