The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, says he is asking for charges to be brought against six high-profile suspects who allegedly incited or facilitated ethnic violence following Kenya's 2007 elections. At a press conference Wednesday, he named among the accused three Kenyan ministers, including the deputy prime minister.
“We believe these six names are the most important names in the case…. They were the ones giving orders to commit the crimes.”
He said rank and government position did not play a role in deciding who would be prosecuted.
He said a judge will consider the charges in a procedure called “a confirmation of charges” and summon those who have been named in the indictments.
Moreno-Ocampo said most of them have said they are willing to appear.
“The individuals that we are looking for have accepted that they will come to The Hague to face trial….”
The Kenyan government has announced plans to hold its own investigation. Many see that as a ploy to protect its officials from the public humiliation of a trial by the International Criminal Court.
But Moreno-Ocampo said while the government has the right to go ahead with its investigation, “I will maintain that these trials will only take place in The Hague.”
Many Kenyans believe that although the six suspects gave the orders, the hundreds of people who took part in committing the crimes should also be brought to justice.
Moreno-Ocampo said that is up to the Kenyan government, adding that “six is just a sample, but the Kenyans will decide how many they would like to prosecute.”
Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki has already rejected calls for the resignation of the officials named in the indictments. In a statement to the press Wednesday he said, "Calls for action to be taken against them are…prejudicial, preemptive and against the rules of natural justice."
Reports from Nairobi say the National Police has tightened security in areas that were hit hardest by the violence. Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere said, “Adequate security arrangements in all areas of the country to forestall any eventuality” were made in advance of the announcements.