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Orengo defends Annan’s move on secret envelope

Sunday July 12 2009

By NATION Reporter

Lands minister James Orengo on Sunday defended the decision by chief mediator Kofi Annan to hand over names of post- election violence suspects to the International Criminal Court.

He said Mr Annan could have made the move because it had taken long without the government putting in place a tribunal to try the suspects.

“His action is completely justified because one year down the line, we do not have a system to implement recommendations of the Waki Commission,” Mr Orengo said.

Mr Annan had been patient, tolerant and non-partisan in dealing with the mediation and Kenya’s compliance with recommendations of the Waki Commission, he added.

Mr Orengo spoke during an interview with the Nation to clarify claims attributed to him that Mr Annan betrayed or ambushed the Geneva delegation that met ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

“Nothing of the sort could come from him. I do not think in Kenya he would put his integrity at stake,” the minister said.

The mediation

Their meeting with Mr Moreno-Ocampo did not imply any paradigm shift from expectations of the Rome Statute and international law.

“Kenya was lucky to have somebody of Mr Annan’s status and dignity to lead the mediation process,” he said.

When they met Mr Annan in Geneva before proceeding to The Hague, Mr Orengo said, they had a constructive meeting. After meeting Mr Moreno-Ocampo, they were to brief the President and PM before getting back to the former UN boss.

“Before we could get back to him, the debate had taken a totally different dimension in the country, suggesting the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission would be the trial authority. This could have made Mr Annan to believe we went out of procedure,” Mr Orengo said.