Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ocampo names Kenya chaos suspects

Uhuru Kenyatta
Uhuru Kenyatta
By ANTHONY KARIUKI and OLIVER MATHENGE

The names of suspected masterminds of Kenya's post election violence have finally been revealed.

The six include senior politicians in the Party of National Unity (PNU) and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), the main parties that battled it out for the presidency in the disputed 2007 elections.

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Wednesday that the prominent leaders bore "the greatest responsibility" for the violence that left 1,133 people dead and 650,000 displaced.

Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta, his Industrialisation counterpart Henry Kosgey, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, the head of the civil service Francis Muthaura, former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali and journalist Joshua arap Sang will now receive summons to appear before The Hague- based court.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo was addressing a news conference after presenting before the ICC judges two cases, each involving three individuals.

"The post election period of 2007-2008 was one of the most violent periods of the nation’s history,” said the Prosecutor. 

"These were not just crimes against innocent Kenyans," he said.

“They were crimes against humanity as a whole. By breaking the cycle of impunity for massive crimes, victims and their families can have justice. And Kenyans can pave the way to peaceful elections in 2012.”

Mr Moreno Ocampo said he considered Mr Ruto, Mr Kosgey and Mr arap Sang as the "principal planners and organisers of crimes against PNU supporters".

He said Mr Muthaura used his position as the chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee to "authorise the police to use excessive force against ODM supporters and to facilitate attacks against ODM supporters". Major General Ali also faces the same charges.

Mr Kenyatta is accused of mobilising the outlawed sect Mungiki to attack ODM supporters.

Mr Sang used "his radio program to collect supporters and provide signals to members of the plan on when and where to attack," said the Prosecutor.

He said that “perpetrators” cultivated by Mr Ruto, Mr Kosgey and Mr Sang began to execute their plan by attacking PNU supporters immediately after the results were announced.

"On 30-31 December 2007, they began attacks in target locations including Turbo town, the greater Eldoret area (Huruma, Kimumu, Langas, and Yamumbi), Kapsabet town, and Nandi Hills town. They approached each location from all directions, burning down PNU supporters’ homes and businesses, killing civilians, and systematically driving them from their homes.

"On 1 January 2008, the church located on the Kiambaa farm cooperative was attacked and burned with more than hundred people inside. At least 17 people died. The brunt of the attacks continued into the first week of January 2008."

Mr Moreno-Ocampo accused government officials: Mr Kenyatta, Mr Muthaura and Major General Ali of planning and executing well coordinated retaliatory attacks.

"On or about 3 January 2008, KENYATTA, as the focal point between the PNU and the criminal organization the Mungiki, facilitated a meeting with MUTHAURA, a senior Government of Kenya official, and Mungiki leaders to organize retaliatory attacks against civilian supporters of the ODM.

"Thereafter, MUTHAURA, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee (“NSAC”), telephoned ALI, his subordinate as head of the Kenya Police, and instructed ALI not to interfere with the movement of pro-PNU youth, including the Mungiki.

"KENYATTA additionally instructed the Mungiki leaders to attend a second meeting on the same day to finalise logistical and financial arrangements for the retaliatory attacks," he said.

The ICC prosecutor said he had no evidence linking President Kibaki or Mr Odinga to the violence.

""We follow the evidence where it takes us. We are not taking into account political responsibilities ... there are political debates, but it is not my responsibility," Moreno-Ocampo said.

On Tuesday, Mr Moreno-Ocampo issued nine tough conditions that will guarantee freedom to the six.

He warned that he will seek arrest warrants from the Pre-Trial Chamber if the conditions, which range from the suspects frequently informing the ICC judges of their movements to an assurance of not interfering with the witnesses, were flouted.

But three of the six suspects immediately protested their innocence led by Mr Kenyatta.

"My record is clear and it remains very clear that I have never committed any crime," Mr Kenyatta told reporters at a press conference.

"The ICC prosecutor has done his work, we wait for the outcome of the judges," he said.

"I now find myself to be a suspect, I am ready to respond to any allegations made against me."

Mr Ruto also countered Mr Moreno-Ocampo's accusations saying he was not surprised to be named.

"The issues I have raised have now come to pass. It did not come as a surprise to me,” Mr Ruto said at a press conference at Parliament Buildings.

“All along I knew that there was a deliberate scheme, hatched and executed by people who were not interested in justice,” he said..

Flanked by scores of MPs, Mr Ruto said he was ready to face Mr Ocampo at the Hague.

“I am ready, willing and available to face the prosecutor with his witnesses in court as and when i am required to do so. My conscience is clear, I neither participated, organised or had anything to do with the violence.

"It is just a question of time and the truth will come out and shame the devil,” he said while declining to answer any questions from reporters.

On his part, Mr Muthaura said he had not done anything to warrant criminal prosecution.

"The suggestion that I have done anything to warrant criminal investigation is manifest nonsense. It amounts to an unwarranted slur on my reputation and is both unfair and unjustified,” Mr Muthaura told a hurriedly convened press conference at his Harambee House office.

“To issue summons for a person to appear, the pre-trial Chamber of the ICC needs to be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person for whom the summons is requested committed the crime alleged. No such judicial determination has been made. None,” Mr Muthaura added, flanked by government spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua, President Kibaki’s advisor on the constitution Prof Kivutha Kibwana and a Senior Secretary at the cabinet office, Sam Mwale.

“I wait to see what the judiciary of the ICC make of the Prosecutor’s application. Hopefully they will dismiss his application,” he stated. 

“In the event that they do decide to issue summons, I will voluntarily attend The Hague and respect any request the judges of the ICC have for me."

The documents he gave the court included the names of the six, the crimes they are alleged to have committed and the penalty that he will be asking for.

A three-judge bench will now evaluate the two 80-page bundles of documents and decide whether he can proceed and file the charges he has identified.

Two weeks ago, Mr Moreno-Ocampo had promised to name the suspects during an address to a meeting of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation, convened by the Panel of Eminent African Personalities chaired by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Upper Hill, Nairobi.

The prosecutor said the cases had been strengthened by new evidence his team had gathered, in addition to the leads contained in the Waki Commission and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights reports.

“Since last March, when the judges issued an authorisation, my office has been investigating post electoral violence. We collected new evidence, including testimonies, videos and documents. We are not going to discuss our evidence in the media. We will do it in court,” he said.

He said the Waki Commission and the KNCHR reports were key in the investigations into the post election chaos but they only provided the background on which his team based its inquiries.

Additional reporting by Peter Leftie

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