25 May 2012

Kenya: ICC Will Not Stop Me, Uhuru Declares

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Luis Moreno Ocampo insists that the security situation in Kenya continues to pose a challenge to ... ( Resource: Kenya: ICC Witnesses Security Under Threat - Ocampo

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said yesterday that he will not abandon his Presidential campaign despite the charges he is facing at The Hague and Prime Minister Raila Odinga asked the International Court to ensure a fair trial for the four Kenyans.

Speaking in Maragua, Uhuru said he will from now avoid commenting on the ICC issue so that his lawyers can deal with it as he continues with his bid to succeed president Kibaki next year. "ICC charges and the dismissal of my appeal will not stop me from seeking votes from Kenyans. My lawyers will deal concentrate on the case and i will concentrate on my presidential campaigns," Uhuru stated. The ICC threw out an appeal by Uhuru, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang on Jurisdiction.

Speaking in Eldoret during the burial of a director of KCC Kiplagat Kogos, Raila said the Ocampo four should not panic because their cases will eventually come to a conclusion. He said the post election chaos were largely caused by those who rigged the 2007 presidential elections. "The ICC cases will come to an end. I was also detained and jailed but here I am", said the PM who was with Ministers Fred Gumo, Margaret Kamar and Musa Sirma during the burial at Ngeria in Eldoret South constituency.

Gumo who spoke at length also revisited his earlier call on Raila and President to ensure that the ICC case are brought back to the country before the next elections. "If these cases are not brought back to the country before the polls then we are likely to have more problems", said Gumo. It emerged yesterday that Ocampo Four lost their jurisdictional appeals on Thursday because they failed to consider the veiled advice of the pre-trial chamber earlier in the year, the Star can reveal.

While determining the jurisdictional appeals filed by the four in January, this year, the pretrial chamber led by Ekaterina Trendafilova ruled that the issues raised were not jurisdictional in nature and explained why. The pre-trial chamber concurred with the prosecutor Louis Ocampo that the two main issues raised - legal definition of the term "organization" and alleged lack of sufficient evidence to establish existence of the "organization" fell on the merits of the cases.

On Wednesday while delivering the decision, appellate judges led by Akua Kuenyehia quoted sections of the January decision to show how the accused - Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, Francis Muthaura and Joshua Sang failed. "The chamber (pre-trial) considered that the two points were not made as independent arguments, either of which, if upheld, would autonomously establish lack of material jurisdiction," appeals judges said.

Either, the matter could not be determined without the assessment of evidence of the cases against the adopted interpretation of the term organization. Kuenyehia's team wondered why the accused refused to split up the issues as inadvertently advised by the pre-trial chamber: "None sought leave from the pre-trial chamber to appeal the interpretation of 'organizational policy'."

The door for appealing on the basis of evidence had been closed indefinitely in February this year after the pre-trial chamber locked out the option. The issues raised by the four can only be determined at a full trial according to the appeal judges. "The enquiry that the accused allege should have been carried out on a challenge to jurisdiction was therefore carried out as part of the confirmation process as, indeed, it had to be," judges said.

Yesterday, Ruto's lawyer Katwa Kigen said his team is very dissatisfied with the appellate decision. He said his team is nevertheless now focusing on the trial. "We have exhausted all options we had and we have given it our very best. I do not think there is much we can do for now. Our focus now is on the trial and we hope to convince the court at the earliest opportunity that our client ought not to be there in the first place," Kigen said

Meanwhile, law professor Makau Mutua was at the Hague yesterday to explain his role in an alleged witness tampering. Unconfirmed reports indicated that Mutua was grilled by court investigators.

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