By BERNARD NAMUNANE email@example.com AND EMEKA MAYAKA GEKARA firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Thursday, March 31 2011 at 22:06
Posted Thursday, March 31 2011 at 22:06
President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Thursday maintained their contradicting positions on the fate of the Ocampo Six in separate meetings with visiting United Nations boss Ban Ki-moon.
While President Kibaki stated that Kenya was pushing for deferral of the cases through the UN Security Council, Mr Odinga was categorical that a referral by the International Criminal Court on the strength of a local tribunal was the best option.
Sources close to the separate meetings said the two principals struck to the positions which have created a rift in the Grand Coalition government.
Mr Ban, who arrived in the country on Wednesday to chair the meeting of the UN Chief Executives Board and open new UN Environment headquarters in Nairobi, first met President Kibaki at Harambee House at 11am before going across the road to meet Mr Odinga.
During the one-hour meeting at Harambee House, it was understood the UN boss said Kenya’s bid to defer the cases against the Ocampo Six through the UN Security Council hinged on a working Judiciary and political goodwill of its leaders.
He said the capacity of the local courts to try the suspects and the ability of the police to investigate crimes against humanity was crucial.
President Kibaki, who wants the cases against the Ocampo Six tried at home by a special Division of the High Court, said the government was fast-tracking reforms in the Judiciary to give the court system the teeth and independence to try the suspects.
Said the Presidential Press Services: “The President noted that the reforms being undertaken would especially help in giving the country a strong and independent Judiciary that would deal with the delivery of justice expeditiously.”
Making a pitch for the deferral of the cases against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, suspended minister William Ruto, ODM chairman Henry Kosgey, Civil Service boss Francis Muthaura, former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali and Kass FM radio presenter Joshua Sang, President Kibaki said the establishment of the Judicial Service Commission and passage of the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Bill showed Kenya was preparing the ground for local trials.
He said the new Constitution had provided Kenya with the chance to reforms its institutions, including the Judiciary and the Kenya Police Service to make them efficient.
The meeting at Harambee House was attended by among others Vice- President Kalonzo Musyoka, Internal Security minister George Saitoti and UN deputy secretary general Asha Rose Migiro.
President Kibaki has tasked Mr Musyoka to lead the shuttle diplomacy to convince the UN Security Council members to vote for a deferral of the case.
In a clear show of determination to block the ICC from trying the Ocampo Six, Attorney General Amos Wako on Thursday said two foreign lawyers hired by the government to challenge admissibility of the case had filed their application with the ICC.
It is understood that Mr Ban told the meeting that the UN Security Council had discussed Kenya’s appeal for referral and would make a decision on it. He was not specific on the date.
The UN boss crossed Harambee Avenue to the PM’s office a few minutes after 12pm where he met Mr Odinga and deputy PM Musalia Mudavadi.
It was understood the PM repeated his position that a referral by the ICC was the best option if the government established a local tribunal that meets international standards.
Sources said Mr Odinga insisted that those behind the post-election violence should face justice delivered by a competent tribunal which will not be biased against certain individuals.
That was the reason, he was understood to have said, that ODM has opposed the bid to defer the cases through the UN Security Council.
However, the PM’s adviser, Mr Salim Lone, told the Nation Mr Odinga did not discuss PNU’s diplomatic campaign to postpone the post-election violence cases for a year.