EU issues warning over ICC Kenya process

The European Union has warned Kenya leaders against politicising the International Criminal Court process.

The head of the EU delegation in Kenya Mr Eric Van Der Linden led 13 EU envoys in warning Kenya leaders against politicising the International Criminal Court process December 7, 2010. FILE 

BY DAVE OPIYO, dopiyo@ke.nationmedia.com

IN SUMMARY

The European Union has warned Kenya leaders against politicising the International Criminal Court process.

The 13 EU envoys, at the same time, revealed that investors in their countries were keenly watching how the country will respond to ICC Prosecutor Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s move to name the suspected masterminds of the post election violence.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo, who was in the country last week,  has promised to reveal the names of six individuals bearing the greatest responsibility for the chaos by December 17.

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At a news conference, British envoy to Kenya Mr Rob Macaire said if Kenyans responded to the ICC move ‘in the right way’ then it will open door for more investments in the country.

“Investors are always wary of the political risk in the country...if the country responds in the right way then it will be good for investment,” he said.

The envoys, led by the head of the EU delegation in Kenya Mr Eric Van Der Linden, said it was important that Kenyans avoid violence at this stage and maintain peace.

“Mr Moreno-Ocampo has categorically stated that he is not targeting communities...he is only going for individuals,” said Mr Van Der Linden in Nairobi moments after chairing a meeting of the envoys.

“It is important that Kenyans avoid violence... they on the other hand must resist attempts by leaders to politicise or ethnicise the process.”

His sentiments comes on the wake of allegations at the weekend that the ICC process was being used to lock out certain politicians from ascending to the Presidency in 2012.

“The ICC process is now a weapon to eliminate William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta before 2012,” Agriculture assistant minister Kareke Mbiuki stated on Friday.

However, the envoys said the process must go on without interference and hope that the government will uphold its commitment of fully co-operating with The Hague based court to end the culture of impunity.

Mr Van Der Linden was accompanied by British Ambassador to Kenya Mr Rob Macaire, his German counterpart Ms Margit Hellwig-Boette, Mrs Laetitia Van Assum (Netherlands), Mrs Anne Dismor (Sweden) among others.

Mr Van Der Linden also raised concern over the harassment of the ICC witness and other human rights defenders saying this must stop.

Ms Van Assum of the Netherlands said even though the ICC has stated that it will protect its own witnesses, the government should ensure that its witness protection program was up and running.

“We are disappointed that no significant action has been taken to operationalise its witness protection program...we want the government to act as soon as possible,” she said.

At the meeting, the envoys also pushed for the quick implementation of the fundamental reforms in the judiciary, police amongst others.

“The timelines set out in the implementation of the new Constitution must also be respected,” said Mr Van Der Linden.

They also lauded the ‘courageous’ leadership of President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga saying it was going towards the right direction.

With the new Constitution now in place, the challenge, they added, should now be its full implementation, which the two principles must steer effectively.

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