Uhuru, Muthaura to stay in office despite ICC indictment
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24 – The government has said that Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura will not be asked to step aside even after their indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Attorney General Githu Muigai said the two government officials had the option of challenging the ruling by the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber II, and would not be asked to resign until they had exhausted their right of appeal.
“As far as we are concerned at this point in time, this issue is premature. Our understanding is that the confirmations have been made and they are going to appeal. So in our understanding we cannot make any precipitate decision,” the AG said.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Head of Civil Service were among four suspects whose charges for crimes against humanity were confirmed by the ICC on Monday.
The other two are Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.
Tinderet MP Henry Kosgei and former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali were however absolved of the charges.
The AG also named a team of local and international legal experts who would advise the government on the options available in handling the case.
Those in the legal team are Geoffrey Nice – Queen’s Counsel of London, Rodney Dixon – Barrister of London, Senior Counsels Fred Ojiambo, Joe Okwach and Waweru Gatonye, International law experts Godfrey Musila, Betty Murungi, Lucy Kambuni, Grace Wakio and Henry Mutai.
“The Kenya government as a State party continues to be actively involved in the case because it has rights and obligations as a State party and because Kenya must act in the best interest of its sovereignty and Kenyan people,” the AG stated.
At the same time the AG said the government wants to set up a division within the High Court to deal exclusively with offences of international nature.
He said he would consult Chief Justice Willy Mutunga to discuss the viability of setting up such a division.
“The idea of a special division of the High Court was mooted in 2008 but many people felt that the High Court as then constituted was insufficiently prepared for the challenge of this task. We in government are very confident that under the stewardship of Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, the Judiciary is capable of undertaking this challenge,” he said.
A multi-agency taskforce comprising the Attorney General, Police Commissioner, Director of Public Prosecutions, Director of Criminal Investigations Department and Director of Witness Protection Agency was also set up to review all the pending investigations and prosecutions of the 2008 election violence and determine how they can be expeditiously resolved