"Our mission is to…Open the hidden perspectives"

The Standard and the Nation: Why the same story different conclusions?

Posted by Popular Ombudsman on November 6, 2009

E.A. Standard says Kenya’s options over
By Martin Mutua and David Ohito
It was the day Kenya’s options ran out, the interest of the international community triumphed, and the nation left in the hands of the International Criminal Court.

On Thursday marked a turning point in the upcoming trials of post-election offenders, as ICC got the entry card to Kenya because of its refusal to refer the case to The Hague.

It also marked a turning point as President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, by the default of inaction on ICC’s direct request for referral of Kenya’s case to The Hague, automatically left those who may have committed crimes in their names to ICC, and so sparing themselves accusations of betrayal. In front of Harambee House where last February they signed the life-saving power deal, Kibaki and Raila stood as ICC thunderbolt struck.

Elsewhere wananchi haggled over ‘what next?’ over lunch. Off the cameras Moreno-Ocampo is reported to have told Raila and Kibaki to show leadership in search of justice. He is also said to have also told them whereas he was only capable of handling about three or five cases of key perpetrators of the violence, the rest must be dealt with locally.

It may be the first time the President and PM are meeting Moreno-Ocampo but their faces do not say so
In February, last year, Chief Mediator Kofi Annan was our guest and his message was of hope. On Thursday, standing with them was ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo

Shook Kenya

His message could have been clear, but its ramifications shook Kenya, and the aftershock could last a long time. He announced he would next month ask ICC judges to open investigations on Kenya’s high profile personalities suspected to hold higher responsibility for post-election violence.

Last year before Annan, and an expectant nation, Kibaki and Raila shook hands and promised to share power and save the country. On Thursday, they may not have given Ocampo the formal letter of reference of Kenya’s case to ICC as he wanted, or even openly agreed or rejected the offer to have suspects tried and sentenced to serve in local prisons.

But they spoke in turns like last year and promised what they have twice lost because of a hostile Parliament: establishing a local tribunal to deal with lesser offenders.

The words that stood out in their joint statement, which Kibaki read in English and Raila paraphrased in Kiswahili, were that they had a “constructive meeting” with Ocampo, and the “discussions were candid and frank”.

But they were silent on Ocampo’s main request, a formal referral of the case to ICC. This let the case to progress along the line charted by the Roman Statute.

This is why Moreno-Ocampo’s announcement echoed his statement to Kibaki and Raila last week that if there were no referrals, he would exercise his powers and ask The Hague’s Bench for Pre-Trial Chamber hearings on Kenya.

As the evening set in, reality struck ICC will be swinging into action within days. “Ocampo was categorical President Kibaki and PM Raila Odinga must lead from the front and ensure victims of the violence get justice locally,” our sources reported.

The prosecutor, who arrived yesterday morning, is also reported to have been told by Kibaki and Raila they would not be referring Kenya’s case to ICC, arguing it could jeopardise Agenda Four. These include the constitutional review by the Committee of Experts, constituency boundary review, and the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

The sources also revealed they opposed the prosecutions being held locally. “The Government side was clear that since Ocampo has a case against some individuals as he told us, then the prosecution should be carried out at The Hague,” added other sources.

Agenda four

According sources Raila took the prosecutor through the Agenda Four items that were being implemented following the adoption of the reports by Justice Philip Waki and Justice Johann Kriegler commissions.

“We have had a constructive meeting with Mr Louis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. The discussions were candid and frank,” said Kibaki and Raila in their statement.

They also said they were committed to co-operating with the ICC within the framework of the Rome Statute and the International Crimes Act.

They added they were fast tracking the necessary reforms to ensure election-related violence does not recur.

“We will co-operate with the International Criminal Court to ensure that those who bear the responsibility for crimes committed during the post-election conflict are brought to justice,” the leaders said.

Execute mandate

Moreno-Ocampo said he was impressed by the Government’s efforts to prevent a recurrence of post-election violence. He said that during the meeting he explained how he intended to execute his mandate.

“According to the explanations that he was offering, he seems to have built a case around five persons whom he wants to arrest for trials at The Hague,” revealed a source.

Other sources further said Kibaki and Raila seemed to have been briefed about the prosecutor’s mandate, and that was the reason the meeting did not take long.

The stage is set for Kibaki and Raila to spearhead the formation of a local tribunal, or reforms that would bring justice to other post-election violence victims.

Parliament reconvenes on Tuesday, and one of the businesses on the agenda is a proposed Bill by Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara.

The Bill seeks to establish a special tribunal that meets international standards.

Daily Nation says ” Ocampo leaves meeting empty handed”

By MACHARIA GAITHO Posted Thursday, November 5 2009 at 22:30

Luis Moreno-Ocampo came away empty-handed after his meeting with President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Thursday. That was the import of the brief statement issued on the steps of Nairobi’s Harambee House by the International Criminal Court prosecutor and the two coalition government principals.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo had flown into the country specifically to secure a formal referral from the Kenya government so that the ICC can officially initiate investigations and pursue prosecution for key planners of the post-election violence.

By denying him the referral, President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga signalled that the government is not ready to cooperate fully with the ICC in investigations that could lead to the indictment and arrest of key Cabinet ministers for trial at The Hague or wherever else an international court may sit.

But on another tack, the lack of a referral gave Mr Moreno-Ocampo the green light to proceed on his own volition, while sparing the President and the Prime Minister the politically-sensitive responsibility of surrendering some of their key allies to the ICC cells where bail is usually not an option.

The statement, signed jointly by the President and the Prime Minister, repeated the rote pledge of willingness to cooperate with the ICC, but denial of the reference alone stands as a strong indication that that cooperation does not extend to giving the green light for Mr Moreno-Ocampo to move in on Kenya.

It may be an indication that ICC investigators who may seek to collect evidence and interview witnesses in Kenya will get less than full cooperation from the authorities; and that the government may not swiftly act on ICC arrest warrants.

Despite all the hype surrounding Mr Moreno-Ocampo’s visit, it probably should have been foreseen that at the end of the day, President Kibaki and Mr Odinga would not be prepared to take the political risk of being seen to have sacrificed some of their influential allies to the mercy of the international court.

As the day for Mr Moreno-Ocampo’s arrival drew nearer, a flurry of activities and consultations involving both the PNU and ODM wings of government indicated a growing sense of unease. Many powerful voices who initially were all for The Hague after efforts at a local special tribunal floundered, seemed to be getting cold feet.

Internal dynamics in both PNU and ODM indicated that powerful voices — notably allies of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Agriculture minister William Ruto — openly against The Hague or any other retributive justice mechanism, were gaining ground.

In PNU, popular support in Parliament seemed to be in favour ICC arrests, but President Kibaki has been cautious, particularly over the threat of renewed violence in the Rift Valley if some key leaders from the region were indicted or arrested.

Voice for trials

Renewed hostilities would also complicate efforts to solve the issue of displaced people, thousands of whom have not been able to go back to their homes in the Rift Valley to date. Hence the tilt for healing and reconciliation rather than trials, the same argument used in July when the Cabinet rejected the revised Special Tribunal Bill pushed by Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo.

In ODM, Mr Odinga has been a strong voice for trials, whether through the international court or a special local mechanism. This has brought him into direct conflict with Mr Ruto, who openly expresses suspicion that those advocating trials are targeting him and other Rift Valley leaders.

The issue has split ODM down the middle, with Rift Valley leaders loyal to Mr Ruto threatening to deny Mr Odinga the vote that made him such a formidable candidate come the next elections. How the pendulum would swing was probably signalled about a week prior to Mr Moreno-Ocampo’s arrival. Mr Ruto got the opportunity to play a powerful role at an ODM executive committee meeting where the party strategy for the Ocampo visit was discussed.

The resolution was that ODM was for cooperation with Mr Moreno-Ocampo, but with the caveat that any trials for pre-election violence suspects should be preceded by trial for those who provoked the violence; in other words those who allegedly manipulated the elections to secure President Kibaki a second term. The party also demanded arrest and trial of the Police Commissioner and the Administration Police Commandant, whose forces are accused of many killings.

Troubling questions…

SO PRAY TELL me, who is telling the truth? Does it mean Ocampo was wasting his time? Does it mean that in the planet called earth, there is nobody ready to take on the kingpins who have made Kenya a basket case? Does it mean the world has no way of helping Kenyans deal with these heavy stones?

Should the bad boys and girls who polluted an ordinary process till it stunk to high heavens (according to Kriegler) be let to go Scot free? If the government enters into the ‘conspiracy of do nothing’, then it might be true that the principals are liable for the causes and aftermath of the polluted elections. It also means the process will be okay with the ICC. The ICC can be waiting in the wings for decades, so when the bad boys are out of office, they can be nabbed at any time. For the citizen on the street here is your lesson: NEVER kill your fellow hapless Kenyan because of the politicians. Never corrupt a process as sensitive as elections because of a politician. THEY ARE THE same. Remember they are neighbours but they do not throw stones at each other’s houses! The Committee of experts should keep this in mind as thy draft the new constitution. The lack of a sense of justice is what causes people to fight.

Since it seems that politicians are not normal human beings (they exhibit less intelligence than when they were ordinary human beings), please make very tight laws to govern the conduct of politics so that the rest of us can get on with our lives as Kenyans. Build reliable and effective mechanisms to deal with disputes and dismantle the inefficient, ineffective and untrustworthy edifices which serve the elites only.

Mark these words:

Ocampo will be back. That is the simple truth, and however long it takes, some people will be arraigned in the Hague. Therefore he did not come out empty handed, he simply escalated the case a notch higher!


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: