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ICC will not accept local reports

BUSINESS
By | November 20th 2010

By EDWIN CHESEREK

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has said it will not refer to local reports on Kenya’s darkest moment.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and the Waki Commission prepared reports on the 2007/2008 post-election violence.

But ICC situation and associate analysts Mohamed Kheir and Clause Molitor said their investigation is impartial, independent and objective.

They said only information gathered by ICC investigators is admissible to the court and any other evidence would not be accepted.

The two, however, said ICC would only accept evidence presented before the court and would be corroborated in multiples to ascertain its credibility.

They said ICC investigators had gathered the evidence in past months and would also allow witnesses willing to give voluntary testimony.

The officials also said ICC is protecting a number of post-election violence witnesses and they would not use evidence from witnesses who testified to other commissions.

Addressing civil society groups in Eldoret on Friday, they said ICC would not be manipulated because it is independent.

"The common misperception we come across is that some political representation claim we are targeting their community," said Mr Kheir.

He added: "We are not after one community or political party. We are after the planners and financiers of the violence."

He said ICC has checks and balances to ensure all evidence presented is admissible to court.

"The judges at the ICC are interested on cases that will be admissible to court by sworn evidence that is substantiated," he said.

He said the ICC assumes the crimes against humanity that were committed in post-election violence, were planned because they were spontaneous.

Kheir said ICC has no any intention to incriminate any person to the violence, but investigate the committed crimes.

Warrant of arrest

He said the court has the mandate to investigate and prosecute individuals who bear the greatest responsibility over the violence.

He also said ICC has its own witnesses and it would not disclose their identities or reveal information they have given. Mr Molitor reiterated that ICC would prosecute six individuals from PNU and ODM, who he said were responsible for the crimes.

"We want to put the record straight that ICC abides by the principle of individual criminal responsibility. We imply that our suspects are individuals and not political groups or communities," he said.

In prosecuting the suspects, he said, Kenya would ensure leaders would not resort to violence during and after the 2012 General Election.

He said ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is obliged to collect further incriminating evidence, but the suspects would remain innocent until proved otherwise by the court.

"The evidence for prosecution is collected "bottom-up" from events on the ground, leading to individual most responsible," he said.

He said during the trial, the evidence will be presented and the court would give the suspects a chance to defend themselves and if found guilty, warrants of arrests will be issued next year.

The prosecutor, he said, will request warrants of arrest by providing the name and the crime believed to have been committed.

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