“Whatever can be done to ensure there is a delay so as to enable a level playing ground in the coming elections should be supported,” Keter said.
As if in preparation for this final push, Mr Kenyatta last week declared he would not talk about the ICC cases any more. The Gatundu South MP has repeatedly declared he is innocent and unfairly targetted. In the previous few months, Uhuru led ‘prayer rallies’ at which the court and those he saw as reveling in his misfortunes came under attack from some of his allies.
All efforts by the Government and the four accused to prevent a trial have failed to persuade ICC judges. Full trials are possible at any time after a status conference at the Hague-based court scheduled for June 11 and 12 this year.
The Kenya cases have put the political lives of presidential hopefuls Uhuru and Ruto on the line.
Despite recent disclosures that an integrity law in the pipeline might only bar convicted persons from running for office, the two will almost certainly face legal challenges based on provisions in the chapter on leadership in the country’s Constitution. It is not certain what the outcome would be under the reforming Judiciary led by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.
The legal requirement that they be physically present at The Hague during their own trials could also deny them an opportunity to campaign effectively. There are fears their elimination from the presidential race due to an ICC scheduling decision could be seen as interference in Kenya’s political affairs. This is partly why the move to delay the cases at least until after the election is said to enjoy wide support inside Government.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga, an ardent supporter of the ICC process, is said to be signaling support for the delay of the cases until after the March 2013 elections. Credible sources said Raila has been seeking the backing of international stakeholders for delayed trials. Three weeks ago, the PM was in London on a private visit where he held talks with British Minister for African Affairs Henry Bellingham. Reports of the meeting claimed Mr Bellingham stuck to the official line of support for the trials at the earliest convenience. During a trip to the US last month, the PM met several members of the United States Senate. It is unclear whether ICC issues were discussed.
“It is true, the Government has requested a meeting between the Kenyan team dealing with the ICC and the Office of the Prosecutor, mostly for familiarisation purposes,” Muigai said. He added that the Government delegation was also keen to assure Bensouda of Kenya’s full co-operation.
“We are going to give our official assurances that, as a Government, we have co-operated with her predecessor Moreno-Ocampo and we are going to continue to do so (with her),” the AG stated.
Prof Muigai, DPP Keriako Tobiko and technical staff from their offices will join members of the Cabinet committee on the ICC on the trip, which was previously scheduled for yesterday.
The group is expected to leave the country before the end of next week. While our sources indicate Cabinet ministers Otieno Kajwang’ (Immigration), Prof Sam Ongeri (Foreign Affairs) and Eugene Wamalwa (Justice) are among those who are set for the mission, Mr Kajwang’ claimed he had not been informed about it.