Nairobi — Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa insists that Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are free to contest the presidency now that their cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) are set to kick off after the General Election.
Wamalwa said the trial dates of April 11 and 12 would allow the duo to exercise their democratic rights of participating in elections.
"This in effect brings closure to the acrimonious debate as to whether the ICC process would be used as a political tool to lock out some presidential candidates. Because the court has now ruled they are free to contest the elections and thereafter proceed with the cases," Wamalwa explained.
Speaking at a meeting with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights in his office on Wednesday, the Minister said ICC is a judicial process that should be separated from Kenyan politics.
"ICC cases are a judicial process that should not be politicised and we should let the law take its course for justice to be done for both the victims and the accused," he asserted.
He further pledged that the Kenyan government will fully cooperate with the ICC in ensuring victims and the accused persons get justice.
"Everyone is assumed innocent until proven guilty. That court in its wisdom, has found the request to be allowed time to participate in the next general election and in the healing and reconciliation process. As to whether they (Kenyatta, Ruto) will be elected or not, that is entirely up to Kenyans to decide," he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former Civil Service Head Francis Muthaura, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Journalist Joshua Sang are waiting to stand trial in The Hague beginning April 10 next year.
Ruto and Kenyatta are interested in the presidency and they have been campaigning across the country for the top seat despite facing charges of crimes against humanity at The Hague based court.
ICC has on several occasions indicated that it is not interested in who runs or wins the presidency saying it is up to Kenyans to decide.
During the meeting with the rights watchdog, Wamalwa further said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had nothing standing on its way after the clearance by the court on Monday.
He said it should immediately roll out its programme in preparations for the general elections scheduled for March next year.
The High Court on Monday retained 80 new constituency boundaries following a legal challenge by various groups.
Meanwhile, IEBC is on Thursday expected to launch its new corporate identity.