Ocampo still on track despite Ruto’s mission

Tuesday November 9 2010

File | NATION International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo poses after meeting President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Nairobi.

File | NATION International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo poses after meeting President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Nairobi. 

By BERNARD NAMUNANE [email protected] AND PETER LEFTIE [email protected]

The push to try post-election violence suspects at the International Criminal Court is proceeding despite the recent visit by suspended Cabinet minister William Ruto.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s spokesman said Mr Ruto’s visit to The Hague had not changed anything and investigations were on schedule.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo has indicated that he will present a case to the pre-trial chamber before the end of the year to try and convince the court to issue summonses and arrest warrants against suspects.

Responding to a set of questions e-mailed by the Nation in regard to Mr Ruto’s trip to The Hague, ICC media officer Nicola Fletcher said. “I... reiterate there is no change to what we have already made public that Mr Moreno-Ocampo intends to present two cases before the end of year”.

“It is almost the end of the year. We are almost there,” she said when asked further about the investigations, but she declined to answer other questions that she said broke the rules on confidentiality.

But other sources familiar with the workings of the court say it is highly unlikely the Kenya case could be brought before February next year because of the nature of the ICC’s calendar.

During his visit to The Hague and on return to the country, Mr Ruto exuded confidence that his sessions with ICC officials were a success as he had been able to tell his side of the story.

Mr Ruto and his lawyers said in media interviews that they had managed to rebut damaging allegations in the Waki Commission and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights reports.

They also suggested that they had persuaded the ICC it had been misled and that it would now be refocusing its investigations to look at the possible roles played by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the violence.

Mr Ruto flew back into the country on Monday to receive a welcome worthy of a warrior returning from a successful mission.

Flanked by a large group of Rift Valley MPs, he talked of a triumphant mission at the Hague and how he had successfully countered the adverse reports on his alleged involvement in organising the post-election violence.

But contacted by the Nation on Tuesday, Mr Moreno-Ocampo’s office denied that anything had changed as a result of Mr Ruto’s visit. The matter of his name having been cleared did not arise at this stage, they said.

The ICC officials reiterated that investigations on Kenya were still on track and two cases involving at least six prominent Kenyans will be presented to judges at The Hague before the end of next month.

Addressing his second press conference in Nairobi on Tuesday since his return, Mr Ruto continued his attacks against the Waki and KNCHR reports that implicated him in the 2008 violence in which at least 1,133 people were killed and 650,000 uprooted from their homes.

The Eldoret North MP singled out former KNCHR vice-chairman Hassan Omar Hassan, whom he accused of coaching witnesses to give evidence against him.

Questioned for 30 hours

On Tuesday, the ICC was categorical that Mr Ruto’s visit during which he was questioned for at least 30 hours will not change its schedule.

The Nation learnt that other than volunteering to present himself to the ICC to clear his name, as claimed, Mr Ruto was actually exercising an option of recording a formal statement at The Hague instead of having to present himself for questioning in Nairobi.

A Kenya High Court judge Kalpana Rawal has already been appointed to take statements in Nairobi from government security and administration officials mentioned adversely.