Ocampo Warning to Uhuru and Ruto on Unity
Former ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto to prove that reconciliation was not just a campaign slogan for Kenyans.
“Whatever the outcome of the judicial proceedings, the new Kenyan government has a responsibility to maintain peace and security, as well as care for its victims. Kenyatta and Ruto must show that national reconciliation is more than just an electoral slogan,” Ocampo said in an opinion piece ‘The ICC helps move countries from violence to peace’ published by Lebanese newspaper the Daily Star. (See full article on page 23)
Ocampo originally charged six Kenyans with crimes against humanity following the violence that followed the election in December 2007. The trials of the remaining suspects broadcaster Joshua arap Sang, Ruto and Uhuru are due to start in September and November.
Ocampo recognised that Uhuru and Ruto have continuously cooperated with The Hague-based court but claims in his article that they used the opportunity to “devise a political strategy to pre-empt” the judicial process.
Ocampo said the success of Uhuru and Ruto in the March presidential election was not a failure of the ICC as the “court’s intervention helped Kenya transition from the violence of 2007 to the peaceful elections of 2013.”
He dismissed accusations by Africa that the court was bullying African leaders saying that this was only a ploy to deflect attention from the real issues.
He added that his successor Fatou Bensouda had expressed her “unwavering commitment to justice for the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence.”
“Despite Bensouda’s concern that some witnesses are recanting their testimonies and others are afraid to appear at all, the ICC will keep doing its judicial work. It will not relent,” Ocampo said. “Looking ahead, the ICC will press on with its case,” he said.
Yesterday, the ICC decided that the trials against Ruto and radio journalist Joshua wrap Sang will be held at the Hague, rejecting the joint defence request to have the hearings held in Nairobi or Arusha.
The Judges said that they favored bringing ICC proceedings closer to affected communities in principle but needed to take into account the security of witnesses, the costs of holding proceedings outside The Hague, and the potential impact on victims and witnesses.
Yesterday Bensouda sought permission not to reveal the identity of some prosecution witnesses against Ruto and Sang. Bensouda said some witnesses were now missing and she had not not been able to reach them to find out whether they objected to their identities being disclosed.
Bensouda insists that, with the exception of witness P-0087, her witnesses live in Kenya, or have relatives living in Kenya, and are therefore afraid to have their identities disclosed.
“The Prosecution undertook several unsuccessful attempts to telephone witness P-0087 to seek his consent for disclosure of his identity. Despite all practicable efforts, as it was not possible to reach him, his consent has not been obtained,” Bensouda told the trial judges.
She said the witness provided incriminatory information about the Eldoret attacks and the arson at Kiambaa church. In February 2008, he received a threatening text message stating, “We will do all to find you and kill you.”
Bensouda said she had failed to contact another witness, P-0222, who still lived in Kenya who gave potential exonerating evidence that the violence in Eldoret began before the announcement of the election result and not after Mwai Kibaki wasdeclared the winner.
She said she had also not been able to reach witness P-0389 who provided incriminatory information against Ruto and Sang about the attack on Langas; witness P-0411 who had given information that he saw Kalenjin attackers in Maili Nne on December 31, 2007; and witness P-0412 who gave incriminatory informationabout the violence in Turbo.
She said the prosecution would not call these witnesses to testify so it would have little impact on the accused cases. Nevertheless she said that the individuals that she has contacted expressed “genuinely held serious concerns for their personalsecurity (or that of their families in Kenya)” were their identities to be disclosed.
“There is no reason to believe that the value of this insignificant information to the defence will be improved by the disclosure of the identities of the sources. The Prosecution has on several occasions brought to the attention of the Chamber the unparalleled level of threat or interference with witnesses, or suspected witnesses or their families who are living in Kenya,” Bensouda said.- The Star