Police quiz Ocampo Six in violence probe

Sunday July 24 2011

The interrogation by the CID is part of the government’s efforts to convince the ICC that it was capable of trying the Ocampo Six (Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey, radio presenter Joshua Sang, Public Service boss Francis Muthaura, Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta and former Police boss Hussein Ali) if they are found to have been behind the violence.

Photos/FILE The interrogation by the CID is part of the government’s efforts to convince the ICC that it was capable of trying the Ocampo Six (Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey, radio presenter Joshua Sang, Public Service boss Francis Muthaura, Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta and former Police boss Hussein Ali) if they are found to have been behind the violence. 

By OLIVER MATHENGE omathenge@ke.nationmedia.com

Police have started questioning the Ocampo Six suspects in connection with the 2008 post-election violence.

Three suspects — former police boss Hussein Ali, Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and radio presenter Joshua Sang — have already recorded statements.

The move to question the suspects, fingered by prosecutor Luis Moreno-- Ocampo as bearing the greatest responsibility for the mayhem, is said to be aimed at convincing the International Criminal Court that Kenya can try them at home. (READ: Hold ICC hearings in Kenya, Amnesty urges)

Some 1,133 people were killed and more than 600,000 displaced during the violence that followed the disputed 2007 presidential election results.

President Kibaki, who ran on a Party of National Unity ticket was declared winner but Mr Raila Odinga of ODM disputed the results.

The violence ended when former UN secretary general Kofi Annan mediated between the two sides leading to the formation of a coalition government.

Mr Katwa Kigen, who represents Mr Sang said on Sunday the broadcaster was interviewed by the CID on Friday. His other client, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, is scheduled to meet the CID officers this week, he added.

Mr Evans Monari, who acts for Mr Ali, said the Postmaster General had recorded a statement though he did not disclose details of when this happened.

Mr Kosgey was the first to be interrogated on June 6. He denied allegations brought against him, according to a government report sent to The Hague.

However, it appears that some of the suspects are not keen to record statements even after receiving letters from the CID.

Mr Karim Khan, the lead counsel for Public Service boss Francis Muthaura said that they were focused on clearing their client’s name and not any other issues.

His team, he said, was busy reading through Mr Moreno-Ocampo’s evidence ahead of the confirmation of charges hearings in September.

Speaking by telephone from The Hague, Mr Khan said: “I have not supported in any way filing of the admissibility challenge by the government nor have I dismissed it.

“We have been silent on the matter as our main focus is to clear Mr Muthaura of the claims that have been made against him. Any other matter is an unnecessary detraction from what we are doing.”

It is still unclear whether Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has recorded a statement or is planning to although sources say that he, like the rest of the suspects, received an invitation letter from the CID.

The interrogation by the CID is part of the government’s efforts to convince the ICC that it was capable of trying the Ocampo Six if they are found to have been behind the violence.

Mr Ruto, Mr Sang and Mr Kosgey joined Mr Ali in supporting a government report on ongoing local investigations sent to the ICC two weeks ago. (READ: ICC seeks views on probe report)

In separate submissions, the four told the Court of Appeal judges to admit the report as a show of Kenya’s efforts to try the cases at home.

Mr Ali said that while he reserved the right to file his own application challenging admissibility of the cases against the Ocampo Six, he “endorses the position taken by Kenya’’.

Mr Kosgey argues that accepting and considering the contents of the updated investigation report is an appropriate measure in ensuring the proper conduct of the proceedings of the appeal lodged by Kenya.

“Contrary to the submissions of the prosecution, the Updated Investigation Report does provide evidence that concrete steps have been taken by the Kenyan investigative authorities in relation to the six persons accused by this court,” Mr Kosgey tells the judges.

Mr Ruto and Mr Sang, in a joint submission, argue that the Appeals Chamber should compel the Pre-Trial Chamber II to accept the report and reverse the decision in which Kenya’s case was thrown out. (READ: Judges reject Kenya bid to save suspects)

They are also concerned that the Kenyan investigation team has not been able to locate the people who gave the initial statements in 2008 and “speculates that they may have been relocated by the ICC prosecutor”.

“If this is the case, and the ICC process is in fact frustrating the possibility and progression of further national investigations, then it would be patently unfair for the court to dismiss the admissibility application on the basis of inactivity,” the two tell the judges.

But the submission has been rejected by Mr Moreno-Ocampo and alleged victims of the post-election violence who argue that it has no meaningful additional information about any investigation against the Ocampo Six.