ODM leader Raila Odinga stands next to President Kibaki as he shakes hands with mediator Graca Machel. Photo/JOSEPH MATHENGE a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Kenya: Kibaki Letters Warn ICC Bid is 2012 'Power Grab'
Peter Leftie and Dave Opiyo
11 March 2011
Nairobi — Kenya wants the cases facing the Ocampo Six postponed because the trials may lock out Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto from the 2012 presidential race, triggering fresh violence.
In separate letters to the United Nations Security Council and the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute, Kenya says two of the six suspected masterminds of the post-election violence are front-runners in the Kibaki succession race and their prosecution in the run-up to the 2012 election may cause renewed violence.
In a letter to the President of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute, Mr Christian Wenaweser, Kenya's permanent representative to the UN, Mr Macharia Kamau warns that the indictment of the Ocampo Six in the run-up to the 2012 general elections poses a "real and present danger" to security in the country because some of them are presidential front-runners while others are top security officials.
"Some of the individuals mentioned by the ICC prosecutor are among the front-runner presidential candidates and the civil servants mentioned are in office and charged with responsibilities for peace and security. Needless to say therefore, the pending ICC indictments pose a real and present danger to the exercise of government and management of peace and security in the country," Mr Macharia warns in the letter, dated February 28.
Kenya seems to have Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto in mind when it talks of the front-runners in the 2012 presidential elections and Public Service Head Francis Muthaura, whose position puts him at the helm of the National Security Council.
The three other individuals named by Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo as bearing the greatest responsibility are suspended Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey, former police commissioner Major Gen (rtd) Hussein Ali and radio personality Joshua Sang.
"The United Nations Security Council, as a political body, is best placed to make an assessment that in the context of a coalition government and in light of the forthcoming general elections in 2012, the pace of implementation of the constitution will inevitably suffer setbacks in light of the heightened political manoeuvring underway in the build-up to the Presidential elections of 2012.
This is particularly the case for Kenya in view of the fact that two of the three front-runners are themselves subject to the on-going ICC investigations and have already received communication from the ICC prosecutor," Kenya argues.
The appeals come in the wake of what is turning out to be a futile diplomatic offensive led by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka to convince the Security Council to defer the Kenyan cases by 12 months.
The US, a powerful member of the Security Council has already said it will oppose the move, denting Kenya's chances of securing the reprieve it is seeking.
Kenya says that even though President Kibaki will not be in the 2012 race, he believes that the ICC process is being used by "internal and external" forces to lock out some presidential hopefuls in order to hand power to their opponents.
"Is a rush to undertake the pre-trial process in the political climate of a presidential campaign worth the risk of destabilising the country and a return to violence and loss of lives in Kenya?" it asks.
"The ongoing ICC process has a potential risk to ignite violence, breakdown of law and order and loss of life in Kenya," the Kenya government warns.
Interestingly, Attorney General Amos Wako is blamed for Kenya's initial failure to have the cases handled through a local mechanism.
The letter says this was President Kibaki's intention and he was let down by the AG and the wrangles in the coalition government.
In the letter to the president of the Security Council, Mr Li Baodong, Kenya says the naming of the Ocampo Six has slowed down the implementation of the new constitution and poisoned the political climate.
"The premature and prejudicial naming of six individuals by the ICC as bearing the greatest responsibility for the PEV has slowed down the implementation of the new constitution, the reform process and poisoned the delicate political climate," the letter says.
Kenya, however, says that its request to have the cases postponed does not amount to condoning impunity or shielding the suspects.
"Those guilty of violence will be pursued, of this, there's no doubt. The question is whether this should happen in the midst of an emotive presidential campaign.
"Kenya seeks to strengthen and uphold the principle of complementarity under the Rome Statute and to facilitate continued implementation of the new constitution while helping forestall potential violence and chaos," it goes on.
Mr Musyoka is reported to have presented a similar letter to UN secretary general Ban ki-moon in New York on Wednesday.