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ODM says it supports local trials, but under credible mechanism

BUSINESS
By | March 23rd 2011

By Isaiah Lucheli

ODM is insisting that trials of the suspects of post-election violence should only be done in Kenya if a credible local tribunal was put in place.

The party clarified that it supported referral, and not deferral of the cases.

"ODM reconfirms that the party’s often stated position that in the event of a credible local tribunal, the ICC process should be referred. The party is prepared to sponsor a Bill to fast track the process," the party said in a statement.

Party Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o, however, said the Government had not yet established a credible tribunal and investigation by the Police Force could not be trusted.

"What we are saying is that if there is credible local tribunal and investigation, we support the referral; but as matters stand today, there is no credible investigation. The Government is tittering and the police who were incriminated in the post-election crimes cannot be trusted to investigate themselves," said Prof Nyong’o.

Efforts shot down

Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba, who is the secretary of the party’s parliamentary group, said ODM had fought hard in Parliament for the setting up of a local tribunal, but the efforts were shot down by some MPs who were now calling for deferral.

"It is to be noted that it is the ODM that pushed hardest on the floor of the House for the setting up of a local tribunal, but the effort was thwarted by MPs who are now engaging in political sideshows to lay blame on ODM," said Namwamba.

The MP, who read the statement, said some of the MPs who are now opposed to The Hague process and were rooting for the formation of a local tribunal had earlier opposed it, noting their utterances are documented in the Hansard.

Quoting from the Hansard, Namwamba said Government Chief Whip Johnstone Muthama, for instance, was opposed to the local tribunal and wondered what had changed following the naming of the Ocampo six.

Muthama had said tribalism had entrenched itself in the country and it would be fair to take the suspects of murder to The Hague as the country does not have the capacity to try them locally.

Expressed surprise

Namwamba explained that all the MPs said during the Motion on the formation of the local tribunal was on record and expressed surprise on change of heart among the leaders.

He was reading a press statement following a joint National Executive Committee and Parliamentary Group meeting at Orange House attended by the party leader, Raila Odinga.

Cabinet ministers Charity Ngilu, Fred Gumo, Mohammed Elmi, Paul Otuoma, Nyong’o and more than 65 MPs attended the meeting.

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