UK to avoid contact with ICC suspects

By Luke Anami

ELDORET, KENYA: The United Kingdom envoy to Kenya Christian Turner on Tuesday said his country may not have contact with International Criminal Court suspects should they ascend to power after March 4 elections.

Speaking in Eldoret Turner said the UK does not support any presidential candidate but stated that the UK and most countries do not have contact with ICC indictees.

“Whether or not the position would be for a win, we will cross that bridge when we get there. It is well known the position of my government and others is that we don’t get in contact with the ICC indictees unless it is essential. But it is not a policy specific to Kenya but it is a global policy and we have discussed it with here with the elders,” he said.

He said Kenyans are free to elect the leaders they want but his government shall support the ICC process and observe the Rome Statutes on the ICC suspects should they win.

The remarks by the UK envoy means that the British government may have to review its position with Kenya should the ICC suspects Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and immediate former Eldoret North MP William Ruto win March 4 elections.

The British High Commissioner made the remarks after meeting Kalenjin Elders in Eldoret Town on Tuesday.

“The position of my Government on ICC is very clear. We support the continued collaboration between Kenya and the ICC. The ICC is in the Kenyan Courts. It was the Kenyan parliaments that sent the cases to the ICC and we make no apology to an end to impunity and rule of law and victims of 2008 violence have justice,” Dr Turner said.

The Kalenjin elders led by their chairman Josiah Sang disclosed the elders will support whoever wins as they will remain non partisan.

“We have discussed peace and security and all the other issues and our position is that we will support whoever Kenyans elect as it will reflect the people’s choice. However, we will not support any party during these elections,” said Sang.

Dr Turner said the ICC processes is one way of ending impunity and bring peace in Kenya and it should not be politicized.

Dr Turner who was visiting the Rift Valley for the first time since he was posted to Kenya in June last year to take over from Robert Macaire who has left the British Diplomatic service said his government supports the ICC process but it’s up to Kenyans to elect the leaders of their choice.

“My government’s position is very clear. We support end to impunity and support justice for victims of violence in 2007/2008. And therefore my government supports the ICC but that process is a judicial process not a political process,” Turner said soon after a meeting with Eldoret Diocese Catholic Bishop Rev Cornelius Korir, AIC Bishop Christopher Rutto and his predecessor retired Bishop Thomas Kogo at a closed door meeting yesterday at the cathedral offices.

He said even though two ICC suspects, Kenyatta and Ruto would be vying for Presidency and Deputy President respectively in the March 2013 general elections, British Government does not regret supporting the ICC process.

The process he said should be allowed to proceed as the rule of law must be allowed to take its course irrespective of the outcome.

“It is not for me to say whether those indictees should run or not or who should they run with. That is for Kenya to decide. But we will continue supporting the rule of law. That is vital for Kenya. The rule of law is a very central part of the new Kenya and I don’t think we should make any apology for that,” he explained.

While on a familiarization tour ahead of Party nominations scheduled for Thursday, Turner called for peace and dialogue among the communities living in the Rift valley who bore the brunt of the 2007/08 election related violence.

“Peace and dialogue are very important and we want people from different communities to come together. We are very confident that the upcoming elections will be credible and fair because all of Kenya wishes it to be,” Turner said.

“Peace building is very important in this country and we are asking all people to maintain peace during this election. We want Kenya to pass the test of doing elections well,” Bishop Korir who hosted the High Commissioner said.