Kenya demands right of reply on ICC statements

Attorney General Amos Wako

The International Criminal Court should grant the government the right to reply to statements by the prosecution and victims, according to Attorney General Amos Wako.

Mr Wako said on Wednesday that the two lawyers hired by the government had filed an application at The Hague, seeking to reply to submissions by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the defence lawyers and the victims. The government is seeking to block The Hague from trying the Ocampo Six.

“The government has to assert its right to reply and that is why I remained behind (at The Hague) to ensure it happens,” he said on the phone.

The government was responding to a decision by the Pre-Trial Chamber judges to reject a request by Kenya that the Chamber convenes a status conference involving all parties to discuss the application. The government has filed an application challenging admissibility of the case and the jurisdiction of the ICC over the crimes arising out of the 2008 post-election violence.

The judges have requested the prosecutor, the defence and victims to make written submissions on the application before April 28. They said they could only rule on the inadmissibility of the case after addressing matters on the organisation of the proceedings.

“Moreover, the fact that the Government of Kenya is a party to the article 19 proceedings does not mean per se that it is a party to the criminal proceedings against the suspects,” the judges said.

The Pre-Trial Chamber also ruled that the Office of Public Counsel for Victims shall represent those who make submissions when proceedings on the Kenyan government application are conducted.

In an application filed on its behalf by two British lawyers last week, the government says it is seeking an opportunity to demonstrate to the ICC that it can handle the post-election violence cases.

In the application filed by Queen’s Counsels, Sir Geoffrey Nice and Mr Rodney Dixon, the Kenya government has committed itself to investigate and prosecute post-election violence cases by September.

The six suspects are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, PostmasterGeneral Hussein Ali, radio presenter Joshua Sang and suspended ministers William Ruto and Henry Kosgey.

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