Six prominent Kenyans could be charged at the International Criminal Court at the Hague for their involvement in the 2007 post-election violence, President Obama’s ambassador-at-large on war crimes said on Thursday.
Amb Stephen Rapp said the ICC pre-trial chamber will rule on whether investigations can start in March this year before the prosecutor, Louis Moreno Ocampo, swings into action.
“Some four to six prominent people who played key roles in the violence will be charged at the ICC because it has no capacity to deal with the hundreds of suspects,” Mr Rapp announced.
He said Mr Ocampo was in Washington last week, when they talked about the investigations — which, according to the prosecutor, have overwhelming evidence.
He disowned the two American professors who filed a suit to bar Mr Ocampo from investigating the Kenyan cases. “I have never met them and I believe they are not Americans. President Obama’s government has nothing to do with their attempts,” he added.
The envoy, who addressed the Press at the US ambassador’s residence in Nairobi, said there was need to pass witness protection laws once Parliament is reconvened.
Mr Rapp, however, said he was satisfied with the constitutional reform process, which he said will ensure the police and the Judiciary toe the line, but voiced his concern over the government’s “reluctance” to establish a local tribunal to try the post-election violence suspects.
“Promises of forming the tribunal have taken too long, forcing Mr Ocampo to take the long route of seeking permission from the pre-trial chamber to start investigations, yet Kenya is a signatory to the Rome Statute,” he said.
He had earlier said Kenya could face international sanctions over the failure to arrest Rwandan fugitive Felicien Kabuga, who is believed to be hiding in the country.
In particular, the US official was concerned that Kenya is sitting on vital information that, if released to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, would fast-track the arrest of Mr Kabuga.