8 October 2012

Kenya: Kaul Insists Post-Election Violence Cases Don't Merit ICC Hearing

ICC pre-trial judge Hans Peter Kaul has maintained that the two Kenyan cases currently awaiting trial have no merit being at the court.

Kaul who has dissented on the Kenyan cases thrice on the basis that the court lacks jurisdiction, cut off discussion on the matter saying he did not wish to appear as though he was making a political statement.

"As far as I am concerned those cases have no merit and I have made my position clear before. Now I do not wish to be seen as though I am making a political statement," Kaul curtly said and walked away.

The German judge spoke at the sidelines of International Justice conference in Nuremberg where Attorney General Githu Muigai led experts in bashing the legacy of former prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo.

Muigai complained that the ICC had chosen to treat Kenya with mistrust despite efforts by Kenya to cooperate with the court. He said the court has also refused to accept the unique nature of the Kenyan cases.

Muigai said it was difficult to sustain a professional relationship with Ocampo whom he found "downright, discourteous, patronising and disrespectful."

"I was shocked at what appeared to be the former prosecutor's self promotion using the Kenyan cases yet the situation as it were, indeed as it is even now, demands the greatest possible caution," Muigai told delegates among them ICC judges Sang-Hyun Song (president) and Kaul.

Elham Saudi, a director of Lawyers for Justice in Libya, concurred with Muigai saying Ocampo made pronouncements in the Libyan situation which worked against the court. She said she once confronted him.

"I asked him; 'grafitti's of your name are splashed allover Tripoli and you have let Libyans down'. His response was; 'did you take a photo of them?' she said.

International law scholar William Schabas of Middlesex University in London also took on Ocampo for "backing off" on the Palestinian issue after sitting on it for three years. He agreed with Muigai that Ocampo made certain statements which he too "trembles to imagine to date."

Participants led by Max du Plessis of University of KwaZulu Natal and Tiyanjana Maluwa of Pennsylvania State University said it was imperative for ICC to stretch its cases outside of Africa to solve the credibility crisis facing it.

They also called on the US to join the court. Ugandan minister for justice Fredrick Ruhindi said Uganda will not be party to any attempts by African Union to pull out of ICC en masse.

He however defended the idea of expansion of jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice to supplement ICC in punishing international crimes.

Kaul said the ICC needed comprehensive support. He warned against attempts to micromanage the court in guise of support.

"People at the court are trying to do their best under the circumstances. Of course we have done mistakes, we are human beings," Kaul said.

Kaul dissented on the two Kenyan cases in admitting the situation in March 31, 2010, in summoning the suspects on March 15, 2011 and in confirming the charges in January 23, 2012. All through he insisted that the court had no jurisdiction on the cases.

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