Kenya chaos may be next case at ICC

Kenya's violence is likely to be the next case at The Hague, the special advisor to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court has said, as a US diplomat voiced support for the court.

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Ms Beatrice Le Fraper du Hellen said all Kenyans wanted the court’s intervention to prevent violence.

“No doubt about that, Kenya is probably…our next case. And all the Kenyans want (is for) us to come and help them to prevent violence…so we are with them,” she said.

And, according to the US envoy for war crimes, Mr Stephen Rapp, the US government will support key war crimes prosecutions in African countries currently being pursued by the ICC, and notably concerning the indictment of Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir.

"...we're prepared to do what we can to bring justice to the victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Uganda, and Sudan, and in the Central African Republic," he said.

Ms Fraper welcomed the announcement of US support, as she brushed off criticism that the ICC only dealt with African countries. As with the Kenyan case, she said the court intervened only when the "victims need the court to do something for them."

"If tomorrow there are crimes committed again in Africa against victims, we will intervene again in Africa," she said, calling for the United States and the European powers to help isolate those charged of war crimes.

In Kenya, more than 1, 000 people were killed and some 600,000 others displaced in the violence that followed the disputed 2007 General Elections.

There has been many attempts to establish a local tribunal to try suspects to no avail. So far, there has been no successful prosecutions locally against the suspected perpetrators.

However, this week Kenya's Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo vowed to revive, yet again, the push for a local tribunal. He cast doubt on the ability of the ICC to prevent the recurrence of violence after the 2012 elections.

He accused the ICC for “behaving like Kenyan courts” following the delay by the court in granting ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the greenlight to start investigations.

Earlier opinion polls, though, have shown Kenyans' distrust for a local tribunal, preferring that the perpetrators be tried at the Hague.

In November 2009, Mr Moreno-Ocampo requested authorisation to initiate an investigation into the Kenyan situation, and in February this year the Pre-Trial chamber requested for more information on the violence. Ocampo then forwarded a list of 20 prominent Kenyans whom he said were the most culpable in the election chaos.

The chamber has yet to respond to the request.

Human rights lobbies in Kenya have called for the protection of witnesses, citing threats to their life, with the most recent reported one being against Nyanza deputy Provincial Commissioner, Mr Oku Kaunya.

On Wednesday, Moreno-Ocampo said potential witnesses to the Kenya violence may have to wait before getting any official protection from the ICC. He said until the court staff have interviewed them, “they do not have any witnesses in Kenya.”