26 November 2012

Kenya: Court to Handle International Crimes Due in December

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga says an International Crimes Division of the High Court could be in place as early as next month to deal with medium and low level perpetrators of grave crimes in the country.

Mutunga who spoke at a training program for Kenyan journalists on the International Criminal Court processes, said that among other things, the division will be focusing on crimes like those against humanity and others.

"The security, stability and economy of this nation is mortally threatened by crimes against humanity, drug trafficking, trafficking in humans and body parts, money laundering, counterfeit goods, corruption, piracy and terrorism," he said.

He emphasised the need for these crimes to be dealt with expeditiously.

"Something must be done and the ICD (International Crimes Division) is the Judiciary's response to it. The ICD project is owned by the Council for the Administration of Justice, the assembly line for the justice sector. It has robust support of the Ministry of Justice, the AG, the DPP, the Police Commissioner, the prisons, other security services, private sector, civil society and grassroots media."

He however pointed out that the ICD has nothing to do with Kenyan cases pending before the ICC. German Ambassador Margit Hellwig also welcomed the establishment of the International Crimes Division saying that it will bring justice to all Kenyans.

She further called for enhanced civic education to be carried out to demystify the process. Attorney General Githu Muigai who spoke at the same venue insisted that Kenya is cooperating fully with the International Criminal Court.

"Since the case against Kenyan suspects was opened and since I have been sitting in the AG's office we have cooperated fully with the court they have material after material after material," he pointed out.

The AG stated that Kenya, will not listen to those who shout loudest about the ICC and are not member states of the ICC.

"The loudest commentators on the ICC and its importance to the future international justice are not members of the Rome Statute. The united States of America is not a member of the Rome Statute although it has an International Ambassador on international crimes who has been to my office to encourage me to follow the Rome statute," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former civil service chief Francis Muthaura as well as radio presenter Joshua arap Sang are due to appear before the ICC in April next year, when trials against them over the 2008 post-election violence are set to kick off.

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