A list containing names of 20 prominent Kenyans has been given to the International Criminal Court as being the most culpable in the election chaos that hit the country in 2008.
The Chief Prosecutor at The Hague, Mr Luis Moreno Ocampo said on Wednesday the list contains names of 20 senior PNU and ODM politicians and businessmen. But the names are still sealed and are only to help the court decide whether to allow Mr Ocampo to officially open investigations into the Kenya case.
The move was in response to a request by the Pre-Trial Chamber judges on February 18, that the prosecutor gives them more information on the post-election violence.
The Prosecutor clarified that senior political and business leaders associated with the main political parties, the PNU and ODM “organised, enticed, financed attacks against the civilian population on account of their perceived ethnic and political affiliation”
PNU was in the government at the time of the violence and ODM was the main opposition party at the time.
“These senior leaders from both PNU and ODM parties were guided by political objectives to retain or gain power,” the Prosecutor told the judges.
He added; “They utilised their personal, government, business and tribal networks to commit the crimes. They implemented their policy with the involvement of a number of State officers and public and private institutions, such as members of the parliament, senior government officers, the police force and youth gangs”.
The Prosecutor provided the ICC Judges with a list of the most serious criminal incidents, and a selected list of 20 names of persons who appear to bear the gravest responsibility for these crimes. Both lists are contained in confidential annexes.
The names were identified in the course of different inquiries into the post-election violence, including those carried out by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the Commission of Investigation on Post-Election Violence (“Waki Commission”).
“At this stage, the names are indicative only. The allegations concerning the named individuals will have to be measured against the evidence gathered independently by my office. If the Judges authorize the investigation, I will engage those who wish to clarify their role or provide further information,” said Mr Moreno-Ocampo.
The Prosecutor also reiterated to the Judges that none of the named individuals has yet faced justice in Kenya for the crimes. He also requested an expedited decision by the Judges because, in his words, both the victims and those defined as suspects need justice.
The Pre-trial Chamber on February 18, asked Mr Moreno-Ocampo to provide names of poll chaos suspects he intends to investigate.
The judges said they wanted the prosecutor to provide more information to help them make a decision on whether to allow him to launch investigations.
They asked details on the possible suspects and specific incidents he is likely to investigate. The prosecutor has already publicly indicated that he intends to investigate three to five persons whom he says bear the greatest responsibility for the violence.
The judges have also asked Mr Moreno-Ocampo to provide them with further information on “domestic investigation, if any” with respect to the potential cases he wants to handle.
Mr Moreno-Ocampo went before the court on November 26, last year, requesting authorisation to launch investigations regarding the post-election violence. The chaos, which erupted after the disputed 2007 presidential elections, led to the death of more than 1,000 people and displacement of 650,000 others.
Under the Rome Statute, the judges, after examining the request, may make the decision to allow the prosecutor to launch investigations or ask him for more information.