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Kenya Denies Undermining International Criminal Court

  • Peter Clottey

Back row, former Kenyan Education Minister Ruto, left, former Kenyan Minister of Industrialization Kosgey, center, and Kenyan broadcaster Sang, right, appear at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, April 7, 2011

Back row, former Kenyan Education Minister Ruto, left, former Kenyan Minister of Industrialization Kosgey, center, and Kenyan broadcaster Sang, right, appear at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, April 7, 2011

Kenya’s Justice and Constitutional affairs minister has denied accusations his government has created a “climate of fear” to undermine the International Criminal Court’s [ICC] investigations into post-election violence in 2008.

Fighting between opposing sides in the presidential election left more than 1,300 people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands.

Mutula Kilonzo, who is also the liaison of a cabinet sub-committee on the ICC, said the Hague-based court has yet to officially complain or inform his administration about interference it encountered investigating the 2007 post-election violence.

“I am surprised, because that is not true. I am not aware of any attempt to create fear,” said Kilonzo. “If anything, we are working round the clock to make sure the country goes through healing in preparation for next year’s elections.”

In a statement Sunday, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor for the ICC, said Kenyan officials are pursuing “regional and political campaigns” to halt the case against six suspects accused of organizing the violence.

He said the campaigns send the wrong signal and promote a “climate of fear” that intimidates potential witnesses, an allegation Kilonzo rejects.

“The prosecutor may be confusing individual activities, individual agendas [as] a government agenda,” said Kilonzo.

Kilonzo said his government will continue to cooperate with the ICC to ensure justice for the victims of the post-election violence.

He however admitted that recent diplomatic efforts by Kenya’s vice president to defer charges against the alleged masterminds of the violence create the perception the government wants to derail the ICC investigations.

The court is investigating six prominent Kenyans accused of being “most responsible” for the attacks.

The suspects include Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey and suspended Education Minister William Ruto. The others are secretary to the cabinet, Francis Kirimi Muthaura, former police Chief Mohammed Hussein Ali and radio executive Joshua Arap Sang.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s cabinet sub-committee on the ICC is scheduled to meet Tuesday, ahead of the expected arrival of ICC officials to continue investigations into the post-election violence.

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