19 September 2012

Kenya: International Court Starts Awareness Campaign

Photo: capital FM/File
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed he will not be distracted in his quest for the presidency by charges he's facing at the International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court has launched a new civic education programme on its operations, targeting areas that were heavily affected by the 2007/08 post election violence. The court's field outreach coordinator in Kenya Maria Kamara said the new initiative is aimed at providing accurate information about the ICC to communities in areas hit by the violence.

Kamara said they will mainly reach out to communities which are home to the four suspects facing cases at the ICC over the post-election violence. She said there is need for Kenyans to understand that the ICC will not have any role in the electoral process in the country.

"We are also reaching out specifically to areas which are home to the suspects currently facing charges at the ICC", said Kamara during an outreach visit at Kiambaa near Eldoret where more than 35 people were burned in a church during the post election violence. Kamara says it's important for Kenyans to further understand the ICC process as the country heads to the next general elections.

"So far we have made positive progress in providing the necessary information to Kenyans and the level of understanding on the ICC process has also gone up", she said. Kamar said it was also important for Kenyans to understand that the ICC will not have any role in the country's electoral process.

"We are not concerned with issues top do with eligibility of candidates for the elections including those Kenyans facing the charges at the ICC", said Kamara. The four Kenyans facing the charges at the ICC include Presidential Candidates Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and Journalists Joshua Arap Sang.

Kamara said it was up to Kenya's laws to determine who would vie and who would not be eligible to run. She told community representatives during the meeting at Kiambaa that the four suspects were innocent until proven guilty. She said so far the ICC had also not established that any of them had in any way tried to interfere with the ongoing cases. Kamara however said the ICC cases on Kenya were still open and investigations were still being handled by the prosecutor's office.

Speaking on the recent Tana Delta clashes where police reportedly failed to use force because of fear of being targeted by the ICC, Kamara said it was an indication that the rule of law was winning against impunity. "It's good for all to understand and adhere to the rule of law instead of perpetrating impunity. People have to know that they will be accountable for all their actions", said Kamara. The ICC is expected t begin hearing of the poll violence cases in March next year and Kenyans should know that the court is independent and will handle the process without any interference.

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