Azimio protests ICC prosecutor's visit after outcry over police action


Mount Kenya university chancellor Prof John Struthers confers ICC prosecutor Karim Khan with honorary doctorate, Doctor of Law during the university's 23rd graduation ceremony in Thika. [Courtesy]

ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan's visit to the country has caused furore in the political circles with the Raila Odinga led Azimio reading conflict of interest.

Khan jetted into the country on Thursday and was on Friday conferred with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Mount Kenya University for his contribution to the corridors of justice and service to humanity.

“Mount Kenya University has nominated Karim A A Khan for the conferment of honorary Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) during the 23rd graduation ceremony on Friday, August 4, in recognition of his broad contribution to the rule of law and international justice,” read the notice in part.

Khan, hit headlines in Kenya when he represented President William Ruto and media personality Joshua Sang when they were charged with crimes against humanity over the 2007 post-election violence. The charges against the duo were later dismissed.

The ICC prosecutor's visit has raised political storm with Azimio co-principal Martha Karua claiming that the visit by the ICC prosecutor especially after the killings of unarmed protestors by police is not only suspect but a blot on the credibility of ICC. 

"ICC prosecutor @KarimKhanQC hosting in Kenya this weekend by Mount Kenya University and its founder a friend of his former client Williams Ruto at a time both the Azimio__Kenya and Kenya Kwanza regime have written to ICC on the situation in the country, especially the killing spree of unarmed protestors by police is not only suspect but also a blot on the credibility of ICC," tweeted Karua.

The Narc Kenya leader's remarks came as it emerged that President Ruto met with Khan for two hours at State House where a source told The Standard they discussed political instability and violence in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the global issues including the Ukraine Russia war.

"The president and the ICC prosecutor discussed a number of issues, including the instability and violence in Sudan, the DRC and the global issues including the Ukraine Russia war and took stalk of the need for global peace and stability," said the source.

However, State House Press Secretary Emmanuel Tallam was non-committal over the ICC prosecutor's meeting with Ruto.

"I am not aware of a meeting between the President and the ICC prosecutor. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there was one. These are people with a history. Nothing would stop them from meeting," said Tallam.

Who is this man Karim Khan

DAP-K leader Eugene Wamalwa raised concern over the presence of Khan in the country at a time when the government and opposition had written to the ICC over political unrest.

"We must express our reservation about the presence of Khan who is an ICC prosecutor in Kenya when Kenya is preparing to take charges of police brutality to the ICC," Wamalwa said.

“Our lawyers are preparing cases against officers who killed Kenyans. We have evidence we are combining and a legal team headed to the ICC,” he added.

Yesterday, Embakasi East MP Babu Owino said: "I want to advise you that Karim Khan you are not the best person to investigate into this matter. Because of conflict of interest. Conflict of interest amounts when a person's personal interest may not act in the best interest of another person. Or rather, a person's personal interest may hinder or predetermine his judgment and predetermination is a type of a conflict of interest," said Owino in a video posted on his social media accounts.

The MP insisted that it would amount to professional misconduct for Khan to investigate crimes against humanity given his relationship with Ruto.

Former Mukurweini MP Kabando Wa Kabando said the ICC Prosecutor should have declined the Mount Kenya University honorary doctorate degree.

"MKU is a top-notch private university, highly rated. Its leadership is scholarly, diligent and visionary. Its graduates are well ranked. But we judge that ICC's Karim Khan should have advisedly declined the honorary doctorate degree due to local 'link politics'," Kabando tweeted.

In April Azimio wrote a letter to the ICC prosecutor to investigate Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome for allegedly committing serious crimes.

In the letter signed by Azimio's legal representative Paul Mwangi, the opposition leaders claimed that Koome established a special squad of rogue police officers to unleash terror on their supporters during the anti-government demos.

During his visit, Khan refused to confirm whether he had ever received any letters from the opposition.

"And I said I will not speak on Kenya, I'm recused from that,” Khan told TV 47 in an interview.