Ocampo to Meet Hague Suspects in Kenya

Published on Wednesday 5th May 2010 Ocampo to Meet Hague Suspects in Kenya

Key suspects wanted by the International Criminal Court over the post-election violence will have a chance to meet prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo when he visits on Saturday.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo says he will give a hearing, and interview, any of the prominent people who believe they are among the 20 whose names he has presented to the judges at the ICC.

His itinerary will also include trips to various parts of the country, with a particular emphasis on hot spots of the violence in Rift Valley Province.

The prosecutor has asked the government for logistical support to tour the areas hit hard by the chaos in which 1,133 Kenyans were killed and more than 600,000 uprooted from their homes.

The prosecutor wrote two confidential letters last month -- one to inform the Kenyan Government about his visit to start investigations and the second to remind it of its obligations as a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC.

A top government official said: "I am aware of the letters he wrote; we have met and discussed the facilitation of the visit."

In the letter to the government dated April 19, 2010, the prosecutor expressed his intent to begin his week-long visit to launch investigations on the strength of the ruling by the Pre-Trial Chamber delivered on March 31.

"I am writing to express my wish to pay a new visit to Kenya over the coming period. I would like to propose to pay this visit in May more specifically between 8 May and 15 May 2010," he said in the letter.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo states he will use the visit to explain to the victims of the violence the task of the ICC and the need to carry out the investigations.

He expresses his wish to meet various stakeholders among them businesspeople, religious leaders and members of lobby groups.

The prosecutor's letter says he would be interested in attending public meetings to listen to the expectations of Kenyans from the ICC.

"I will be keen to take part in public meetings during which Kenyans could express their views and expectations," he said.

The chaos erupted after incumbent Mwai Kibaki of the Party of National Unity was declared winner of the 2007 presidential election.

His challenger, Mr Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement, disputed the declaration, saying the vote had been stolen. The violence only stopped after the international community intervened, through former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan.

A power sharing agreement was signed between the protagonists in which Mr Odinga became Prime Minister.

On Monday, the government confirmed it had agreed to facilitate the ICC mission of collecting evidence that could lead to trials of some Cabinet ministers, businesspeople and senior civil servants at The Hague.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo has requested the government to provide him and his team with security and logistical support to enable him tour the country.

An advance team from the ICC will hold a sensitisation conference on Thursday -- on the eve of the prosecutor's arrival -- for the various groups that will play a role during the investigations.

The prosecutor's visit ends on May 15.

The prosecutor has said he expects to file two cases involving six accused when he concludes the investigations at the end of the year.

He was granted permission by the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to investigate the crimes committed during the violence.

The investigations will cover the period before the June 2005 constitutional referendum to November 2009.

The prosecutor will also be keen to meet President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga alongside Cabinet ministers Mutula Kilonzo (Justice), George Saitoti (Internal Security) and Attorney General Amos Wako.

"I would, of course, be honoured to have another meeting with President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga as well as interested representatives of the government of Kenya," he said.

While Mr Kilonzo's ministry will play the facilitative role, the docket on Internal Security and the AG's chambers will be key players in the investigations.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo had on April 8, written to the 130 member States to the Rome Statute to inform them of his intention to start the investigations as the law required.

In the letter, he gave the member states one month to inform the ICC if there were any investigations against crimes of humanity committed in Kenya that had been or were being conducted.

"I invite you to inform the court within one month of receipt of this notification whether your state is investigating or has investigated, its nationals or others within its jurisdiction with respect to criminal acts committed in the territory of Kenya which may constitute crimes referred to in Article 5 of the Rome Statute and which relate to information provided in this notification," he wrote.

Advance teams from The Hague have been quietly working in Kenya to prepare for the prosecutor's trip. The latest team arrived on Monday last week and left four days letter.

Their work was to prepare ground for the investigations, meet government officials, establish contact with potential witnesses and assess the risks they will face in giving evidence.



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