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Kenya on ICC hotseat at Kampala Meeting.

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by Ab-Titchaz, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    Kenya in International Criminal Court hotseat

    [​IMG]

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (R), flanked by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, addresses the ICC review conference in Kampala, May 31, 2010. A conference to review the International Criminal Court started in the Ugandan capital on Monday with calls for more states to sign up to the court.


    By Patrick Mathangani in Kampala and Agencies

    The head of the global family of nations opened International Criminal Court performance review conference in Kampala with declaration of renewed war on impunity and universal legal revolution.

    Mr Ban Ki-Moon proclaimed eight years after the signing of the Rome Statute that the ICC had come of age and was no longer the toothless tiger cynics taunted it to be at inception.

    The UN chief told delegates the international community had resolved to end impunity and cited ICC investigations in Kenya as a pointer to The Hague’s determination to bring perpetrators of impunity to justice.

    "If the ICC is to have the reach it should possess... we must have universal support, only then will perpetrators have no place to hide," he said, adding: "Even if it saddens me to say this, the evidence will take the court beyond Africa."

    He spoke a day before Kenya’s Attorney General Amos Wako takes the hot seat today to defend Kenya’s commitment to the ICC and play down initial divisions on the official position of the Grand Coalition at the Kampala conference.

    International radar

    Ahead of the conference addressed by ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who is retracing the footsteps of the bigwigs responsible for 2008 post-election violence, Kenya’s team struggled to clean up its bloodied nose. Sources in the delegation revealed the country’s official report was being ‘overhauled’ to accommodate the interests and voices of both parties to the Grand Coalition.

    The country was on the international radar not just because of the references by Mr Ki-Moon but also the speeches of Moreno-Ocampo and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who is overseeing Kenya’s power-sharing and reforms on behalf of the international community.

    "The delegates are putting up a show of unity. ODM is here to ensure no surprise clauses are inserted. The two sides are meeting for the first time here and there are questions why Kenya’s position should be discussed and refined at the Eleventh Hour,’’ a delegate revealed to The Standard.

    Yesterday, Wako deployed his energies to quell fears President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity had kept governing partner Orange Democratic Movement in the dark and bore a secret report, ostensibly, representative of the whole coalition.

    Before the Kenyan delegation flew out to Kampala, it emerged the report compiled by Justice Ministry, State Law Office, a team of academicians, Office of the President and Foreign ministry technocrats, would see Kenya ask change its position and ask for a one deferral of ICC investigations on post-election violence suspects.

    Wako conceded to journalists at the sidelines of the conference the report had been prepared at a lower level of government, but had not been approved at a higher level.

    He explained the Draft report had not been discussed by Ministers or Permanent Secretaries. Kenya’s stand had reportedly split the delegation, with the ODM side vowing to block any move that would have called for the cases into post-election violence to be deferred.

    "My duty (in Kampala) is to ensure Kenya does not shift its position or ask for deferral from the ICC. Given the position of the President and the Prime Minister who support ICC, it will be ridiculous and undiplomatic for our country to ask for a deferral,’’ said Lands Minister James Orengo on Sunday.

    Yesterday, he was with Wako at the press conference, after apparently ODM side found its foothold in the official delegation. The Lands minister told journalists the differences from Nairobi had been resolved. However, said Orengo had not seen the report.

    Wako, whose office circulated a draft report to civil society groups, which outlined the initial position Kenya wanted to take in Kampala, argued investigations had already commenced and Government was co-operating fully with ICC.

    Ocampo declared the world should not longer ignore international crimes and allow situations to deteriorate adding the rights of victims should be guaranteed in Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Darfur where ICC already has pending business.

    "Never again will victims of atrocities be ignored. This is the time of action, to show how the law is implemented," said Ocampo. He said the court had decided not take political considerations into account.

    Over 100 member states

    "This was a conscious decision, to force political actors to adjust to the new legal limits. We cannot both claim that we will ‘never again’ let atrocities happen and continue to appease criminals, conducting business as usual."

    The UN Secretary general also stressed ICC’s resolve to catch those who target women and children in conflict. "We have no choice but to pursue them all," he said.

    At least 100 member States are taking in part in the meeting about which Mr Ki-Moon told AFP in the morning: "Few would have believed then that this court would spring so vigorously into life, fully operational, investigating and prosecuting war crimes and crimes against humanity."

    He added: "In this new age of accountability, those who commit the worst of human crimes will be held responsible."

    Ocampo who declared universal legal revolution was taking over the world told the BBC: "In Africa, what I feel is that there are some leaders who are trying to change, and some leaders who are opposing the change. And that’s the (source of) tension."

    Leading nations that have not signed up to ICC are Russia, China, India and USA, which, however, sent representatives to the Kampala Conference.
    The African Union has in the past criticised the court, and last year called on members not to co-operate with ICC in enforcing the indictment of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir.

    "But it is not Africa that is hostile to the court. When I meet Africans from all walks of life, they demand justice; from their own courts if possible, from international courts if no credible alternatives exist," Annan explained.

    Reuters quoted Annan, who as UN boss attended the Rome Statute’s founding conference… said doubts about the ICC’s credibility will persist as long as three members of the Security Council refuse to sign up. "What kind of leadership is this which would absolve the powerful from the rules they apply to the weak?" he asked.

    He also urged countries not to forget why they established the ICC, saying the international community had "failed miserably" to protect victims in places like Rwanda and Bosnia.

    ICC president Sang-Hyung Song said co-operation by Member States was key to its success or failure, adding, "Without co-operation, there will be no arrests, victims and witnesses will not be protected, and proceedings will not be possible."

    He urged countries to also initiate proceedings in their own countries using their own judicial systems. The ICC only handles bigger crimes committed by those in positions of power, or those with the "greatest responsibility." "If peace and justice are not pursued hand in hand, we risk losing both," he said.

    Wako who was tasked with giving the position of 30 African states who have ratified the Rome Statute called for ICC to be empowered to deal with States that commit the controversial "crime of aggression."

    He discouraged intervention by the UN Security Council arguing jurisdiction over the crime of aggression should not be part of its mandate. "We believe that the crime of aggression ought to be treated in the same way as all other crimes," argued Wako.

    President Museveni, who is the host, appeared to ask for pardon of some suspects, saying this could help the healing process.

    The Standard | Online Edition :: Kenya on ICC hot seat
     
  2. taffu69

    taffu69 JF-Expert Member

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  3. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    The whole reason for Museveni to host this thing is to cushion himself against these calls for
    him to be investigated for past war crimes. Uganda has also set up a special court within its judicial
    system so that they can claim they dont need ICC to investigate coz they are already doing it.

    Kenya on the other hand failed to set a local tribunal through Parliament to prosecute the
    people behing the post election violence of '07. This is what led to Ocampo being given the
    green light to go ahead with his investigations.
     
  4. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    Once again we see the Kenyan President being conspicuosly absent from such an important function and sends a team that is split right in between in terms of ideologies.

    Kenya accused of shielding ICC suspects

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    International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo talks to Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete (R) and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni after the opening of the ICC review conference in Kampala, May 31, 2010.

    By BERNARD NAMUNANE in Kampala
    Posted Saturday, June 5 2010 at 21:00​


    Kenya is being accused of using the standoff between Sudan President Omar al-Bashir and the International Criminal Court to stall investigations into the 2008 post-election violence.​

    The claims have sparked friction between the Party of National Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement, with the latter accusing its grand coalition partner of seeking ways to wriggle out of the ICC investigations launched last month.

    The Kampala Review Conference of the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, brought out these differences with the two sides of the government squabbling in front of other delegates at the Munyonyo Resort.

    On the one side is the government's firm support of African Union resolutions not to cooperate with the ICC in arresting and surrendering President al-Bashir and establishing an African court that will try suspects of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, which are currently within the jurisdiction of the ICC

    Rome Statute

    On the other hand is the decision by states party to the Rome Statute to set up an ICC liaison office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to sensitise African countries on the mandate of the ICC.

    ODM has accused Attorney-General Amos Wako and Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetang'ula of trying to backtrack on the commitment to cooperate with ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in investigating the main suspects of the post-election violence.

    Miguna Miguna, the coalition adviser of Prime Minister Raila Odinga, has questioned the rationale of Mr Wako writing a letter on behalf of the African states to push for quicker establishment of the liaison office.

    Later, Mr Miguna engaged Mr Wako in an argument on the contents of the letter in one of the sessions, to the chagrin of other African delegates.

    "The letter's real intention is to interfere with the ICC's mandate especially on the indictment of President Omar al-Bashir and the ongoing investigations in Kenya. We (ODM) are objecting to the contents of the letters," Mr Miguna said.

    He added that the letter refers to the AU summit held in Sirte, Libya, last July – which Mr Wetang'ula attended – that came up with resolutions that run counter to the spirit of ratifying the ICC treaty.

    He argued that failure by Kenya to commit to the arrest and surrender the Sudanese president to The Hague shows its unwillingness to work with the ICC.

    "By doing this at a time when we are being investigated, the government is contradicting its commitment to the ICC investigations," he said.

    Mr Miguna's argument was a reflection of the views of most non-state parties at the conference who argued Kenya was hiding behind the ICC-al-Bashir standoff to frustrate efforts by Mr Moreno-Ocampo to collect evidence.

    Analysts of the situation in Sudan attributed to the killings in Darfur argue that unless Kenya steps up to clear its name, the allegations cannot wished away.

    They argued that since state security agencies were involved in the post-election violence and the major players were key leaders in PNU and ODM, the government is worried about the ongoing investigations.

    Pascal Kambale, a former member of the Waki Commission, warned of the danger of lack of cooperation with the ICC.

    "If you don't get active state cooperation, it will be extremely difficult (for the ICC to carry out investigations). The ICC will have to invent a fresh modus operandi to collect evidence," he said.

    Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai noted that the AU assembly of heads of state was slowly transforming into a club that protects suspects of genocide and crimes against humanity.

    "If we supported the ICC when it was being formed, why should we step back now?" she asked.

    But Mr Wako said African countries set up a technical team, of which he was a member, to write a letter to The Hague reminding them of the agreement to establish the liaison office for which the ICC had already set aside a budget. The office, he said, would play a diplomatic role.

    "I have signed the letter on behalf of African states and handed it over to the relevant authorities (The Hague). There is nothing to hide," he told the Sunday Nation on Saturday and reiterated the government's resolve to cooperate with the ICC.

    The feeling in the AU is that the ICC has mostly targeted African countries in its seven years of existence. In addition to Sudan, the ICC has active cases in Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

    Daily Nation:
     
  5. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    Kenya washes its dirty linen at ICC

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    Attorney General Amos Wako (left) and Prime Minister Raila Odinga's special advisor on coalition matters Miguna Miguna had a public spat at the ICC forum in Kampala.



    By Patrick Mathangani

    Kenya shamed itself at the ongoing conference reviewing operations of International Criminal Court in Kampala following a public spat in its official delegation.

    Two wings of the Grand Coalition's official delegation called separate news conferences to claw at each other after differing on what took them to the conference.

    The delegation exported its coalition wrangles, he latest being over what one side interpreted as a new push by the Government to scuttle investigations into post-election violence, to the neighbouring State which has a bloodier history marked by civil war.

    The spat was mainly between Attorney General Amos Wako, whom Prime Minister Raila Odinga's side of the coalition perceives as leaning towards President Kibaki's party, and the PM's special advisor on coalition matters Miguna Miguna.

    The day was characterised by the odd drama, and Mr Miguna was at one point shouted out of a session when he objected to Wako's presentation in front of international delegates.

    Wako was accused of pulling the rug under the feet of his ODM colleagues in the delegation when he secretly wrote to the conference, and attached an African Union document that harshly criticises the ICC and asked members not to co-operate with the arrest of indicted Sudan President Omar al-Bashir.

    The exchange cast a long shadow over Kenya, which is subject of ICC investigations alongside Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan. It did not help matters that the conference's high profile was discernible in the fact it was graced by prominent world figures such UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, his predecessor Dr Kofi Annan, and ICC President Sang Hyun Song and Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno- Ocampo.

    That ugly spectacle capped the divisions witnessed early in the week, as the delegation left Kenya, with ODM wing vowing it had been kept in the dark and was in the trip to make sure the PNU side did not betray the common ground forged at the last-minute. Lands Minister James Orengo said the betrayal could come through a presentation purporting Kenya had changed its stand, or asking for a one-year deferral of ICC investigations ostensibly to let post-election truce hold.

    Writing on behalf of the 30 African States that are members ICC, Wako took the AU position asking for the establishment of an ICC liaison office at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. But he also curiously attached the resolutions of an AU Assembly Summit that met last year in Libya, and attended by President Kibaki, which asked members not to co-operate with ICC decision on arresting indicted al-Bashir.

    As a member of the AU that was also represented at the summit by Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula, Kenya is therefore bound by those resolutions. However, in the letter, Wako did not refer to the resolutions against the ICC, but insisted the need to have the liaison office created.

    Counter-productive

    The document also asks for the establishment of two investigative commissions to try international crimes in Africa. But the ODM said their investigations would be counter-productive as they would run parallel to those of ICC, and African states cannot therefore be trusted to try their own.

    Miguna immediately called a press conference to condemn Wako, saying his actions contradicted the position Kenya has been advancing at the conference and other forums that it would co-operate with ICC to punish perpetrators of post-election violence. Although ODM is not contesting the creation of a liaison office, Miguna said Wako's actions were "whimsical" as he has not consulted ODM on a single issue regarding the conference.

    Miguna argued Kenya also was playing the same game as the AU, which appears bent to scuttle ICC investigations in Africa. "It is troubling because the head of the delegation just went and read what he thinks is the Government position. He has not been consulting. He says if we have any concern, we should go and see him,"said Miguna, flanked by a university lecturer Mutakha Kangu.

    It was Wako, on behalf of Kenya, who early in the week prosecuted Africa's case for the introduction of controversial ‘Crimes of Aggression' which seeks to tackle such ‘violations' as one State invading another as US did Iraq. Wako, who the US banned from stepping on its soil because of being branded anti-reform, led the continent's fight for the adoption of the new category of crimes on ICC's charge list along with the rider UN Security Council, which is dominated by non-ICC signatories such as US, China and Russia, should not be let to determine if they were committed.

    Instead, Wako who is Kenya's official legal advisor, argued the determination of whether crimes of aggression should be left to The Hague.

    Yesterday, Miguna explained ODM was annoyed Wako was making reference to AU resolutions, which clearly showed members were not ready to support the ICC.

    Wako immediately called his own press conference, where he used strong words to condemn Miguna. "It is a typical example of where little knowledge is dangerous. And you can quote me on this," responded the usually unfazed Wako.

    He argued his letter had nothing to do with the AU asking members to shun the ICC because of the indictment of al-Bashir. He said he was just asking for the establishment of the Liaison Office, an issue that has already been agreed on at The Hague but has been delayed.

    The office, he said, will not in any way be involved in arrests or investigations, but was just a co-ordination centre. "When Miguna tried to say this, he was actually shouted out of the room. Then he left the room," said Wako. "He does not know, and everybody knows that he does not know. You know how he behaves," Wako said.

    "They (dignitaries) were asking…what type of a man is that?" Kenya is party to the agreement of the AU in Sirte, Libya, which clearly asked members to shun the ICC regarding al-Bashir. The agreement in reference states: "The Assembly decides that in view of the fact that the request by the African Union to the UN Security Council (to defer the proceedings) has never been acted upon, the AU member states shall not co-operate pursuant to provisions of Article 16 of the Rome Statute of the ICC relating to immunities for the arrest and surrender of President Omar al-Bashir of the Sudan."

    Asked by The Standard whether Kenya was not contradicting itself by declaring support for ICC yet it was party to the AU agreement, the AG said only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could comment. "But whoever went (to represent Kenya at the AU summit) must have been party to the agreement," he said. But President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga's positions on the dispute remain unclear.

    An independent witness to the altercation said Kenya's support for AU put the country in a tricky situation, because the union could take the same stand when time to arrest Kenya's suspects comes. However, Wako said that was only speculation. "That's the future ... you are just speculating. Let's deal with the now."

    When opening the conference on Monday, the UN Secretary General said, instructively: "If the ICC is to have the reach it should possess ... we must have universal support, only then will perpetrators have no place to hide."

    The Standard | Online Edition :: Kenya washes its dirty linen at ICC
     
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