Fairness pledge as ICC judges prepare ruling on Ocampo Six
Posted Tuesday, December 27 2011 at 22:30
The International Criminal Court is promising Kenyans fairness and justice as judges prepare to rule whether the six Kenyan post election violence suspects will be committed to full trial.
With just weeks remaining to judgment day, the court says judges will remain impartial in reaching a decision on whether Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta, Civil Service head Francis Muthaura, Postmaster General Hussein Ali, MPs William Ruto and Henry Kosgey and Kass FM broadcaster Joshua Sang have cases to answer.
The charges stem from the violence which erupted after the 2007 disputed Presidential election which ended with the power sharing deal between President Kibaki and PM Raila Odinga.
Verdict is expected within the first three weeks of January. (READ: Ocampo Six to know fate on same date)
To move the case to the next stage, Judges Ekaterina Trendafilova, Cuno Tarfusser and Hans-Peter Kaul need to only conclude that there are reasonable grounds to believe the six have a case to answer.
For Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto specifically who are declared presidential candidates in next year’s General Election, the judges decision will have far reaching implications.
ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdalla said: “I need to emphasize that the decisions of the Judges are still pending and we can not speculate on it now.”
Asked what message the court had for Kenyans in light of the nearing ruling, Mr Abdalla said: “Justice is being done, under the control of impartial judges, and following a fair process that guarantees fully the rights of the defence...”
The Kenyan suspects will take solace in the fact that the court only last month refused to confirm charges against Rwandese Callixte Mbarushimana who was facing eight charges of war crimes and five of crimes against humanity.
A spokesman for Mr Kenyatta, Mr Munyori Buku said: “The Deputy PM has been wrongly and unjustly accused.
“He is happy he has been given opportunity to defend himself and as a believer in the rule of law, he will see it to the end.
“He has faith in the ICC judges and he is sure that justice will be done in the end,” said Mr Buku, director of commission in Mr Kenyatta’s office.
Mr Kimutai Bosek, the lawyer for Kass FM presenter Joshua Arap Sang, said he initially saw the cases as stage-managed given that the prosecutor had ensured that the crimes are evenly distributed between the ODM and PNU.
“In crime you don’t find a balance on both sides of the suspects. You could find one side to be culpable while the other is not or have a lesser number of suspects on one side, but the balance of three suspects each raised eyebrows and indicated that there was something amiss in the way the prosecution investigated the case,” said Mr Bosek.
He said: “The threshold has now gone up. In the confirmation hearing that we concluded, the Prosecutor was expected to prove substantially that the six suspects had a case to answer.
“The Prosecutor presented what he had and we also argued our part ably,” he said. Mr Bosek said the expectation was that the court’s decision would remain judicial.
“There has been some previous accusation of the court as a political court. My hope is that their decision is judicially informed and not by criteria which is politically informed,” said Mr Sang’s lawyer.