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November 30, 2010

ICC Official Arrives in Kenya for Reconciliation Talks

by Michael Onyiego

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is in Kenya as the country anxiously awaits his warrants for the masterminds of the country's post-election chaos.

As he winds down his investigation into the post-election chaos that rocked Kenya in 2008, Moreno-Ocampo arrived in Nairobi Tuesday evening to participate in a discussion on the country's reconciliation process.

The discussion, lead by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who mediated Kenya's peace deal in 2008, will address the country's implementation of the provisions outlined in the deal, as well as the pace of reforms since 2008.

There has been building anticipation for Ocampo's presentation of his case to The Hague. He has previously stated he would issue arrest warrants at some point in December.
The prosecutor has promised to pursue justice for the victims of Kenya's violence.

"Crimes happened here," said Ocampo. "People were killed, there was rape, houses were burned; that happened. There are some allegations someone was involved. This is not about political parties, this is not about political responsibilities, this is about criminal responsibilities. That is my job."

Ocampo's interest in the post-election chaos began in late 2009 when Mr. Annan sent him the findings of the Waki Report, an investigation launched by a local commission into the violence. The findings were handed to the prosecutor after Kenya failed for nearly two years to pursue those responsible. Ocampo has revealed he would pursue two cases against three individuals each when he presents his findings to The Hague.

Since the launch of his investigation in March, there has been wide speculation as to who might be targeted. Some politicians who were mentioned in the Waki Report worried they might be unfairly targeted.

Ocampo responded to such criticism by secretly inviting the targets of his investigation to give statements in the Netherlands. In a surprise move, former Higher Education Minister and 2012 presidential hopeful William Ruto flew to The Hague in November in order to "set the record straight."

While many Kenyan's hope for justice, there also is worry that the country's prominent political figures will be protected from arrest.

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have both assured the international community of their intention to cooperate, but Kenya has sent mixed signals in recent months, twice inviting wanted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to the country.  

Kenya failed to arrest Mr. Bashir when he attended the promulgation ceremony for the country's new constitution, provoking the ire of the Court and the international community alike.

More than 1,000 people were killed in the two months following the December 2007 presidential election. President Kibaki and then-rival Raila Odinga accused each other of fraud, sparking ethnic clashes across the country. More than 300,000 people were displaced by the violence, many of who remain without homes to this day.