International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has for the first time revealed some of the criteria he was using to pinpoint suspects he wants to blame for the 2007 post-election violence.
While reiterating his promise to present cases against at least six suspected masterminds of the post-election violence before the end of the year to Judges at The Hague, Ocampo appeared to give Kenyans a peek into his tactics.
In a video recording played for journalists at a media workshop in Nairobi on Tuesday, Ocampo made it clear that he was targeting leaders who incited communities against each other, and those who incited and funded their political supporters to carry out revenge attacks.
ICC is also believed to be concentrating on the role played by security forces in the crimes committed during the early post-election period.
The ICC process to collect statements from senior security officials who served in areas that experienced the violence reinforces this.
In his video message, Ocampo said cases against at least six suspects, some of whom fall into the above categories, would be presented before a three-judge bench at the ICC within the next six weeks.
"We have identified six individuals against whom I will be seeking the court’s permission to prosecute before the end of the year," said Ocampo.
Ocampo indicated that he had sufficient evidence that crimes against humanity were committed in Kenya during the 2007-2008 post election violence.
"We have credible evidence against the six individuals. There is evidence also that communities were incited to fight each other by some leaders drawn from the two parties", said Ocampo.
He said Kenyans have a task of seeking to work together and create means of compensating the victims, among them those who lost their homes and rape victims, and elect new leaders in the next elections purely on their credibility.
"It is our desire to see Kenyans conduct the next elections peacefully," he said in the video clip delivered and played for journalists by two ICC officials, Claus Molitor (Associate Analyst) and Ms Nicola Fletcher (media Liaison Officer).
The two later explained that they too were not aware of whom the six suspects were, adding: "Even if we knew we would not disclose at this stage."
The six Kenyans will know their fate after the judges reveal their verdict on the prosecutor’s submissions. They said the prosecutor would be appearing before the judges soon to present the Kenyan case, with the evidence linking the six to the violence that left 1,300 people dead.
ICC’s Own List
The duo was non-committal on whether they have already alerted the six of the impending action against them, only saying, "they will know at an appropriate time."
The two told journalists at a workshop on the operations of the ICC in Nairobi yesterday that the prosecutor was free to gather both incriminatory and exonerative evidence from Kenyans, including those implicated.
Molitor and Fletcher said the ICC was no longer relying on the list presented to them by the Philip Waki Commission, or the report complied by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.
"We used their reports for analytical purposes, but we are not relying on their findings. We have found our own suspects and evidence incriminating them," said Molitor.
The team said Ocampo had only handed over the reports compiled by the two teams to the judges as a basis of seeking permission to commence investigations in Kenya.
"The prosecutor handed over the two reports to the judges then, but soon after being given a go-ahead, decided to conduct impartial and independent investigations that led to the six prime suspects," said Molitor.
On the recent visit of Eldoret North MP to The Hague, Fletcher said: "Ocampo and his team were willing to listen to Ruto and get his story. There was nothing unusual with the visit which has generated a lot of debate."
The team declined to disclose the finer details on what they discussed with Ruto during his recent visit.
They said the prosecutor was objective and will not be influenced by any other body, including the United Nations Security Council. " We are under stringent measures in our work as ICC to ensure that law is upheld," they said.
The officials also announced that they had no arrangements with any local organisation to protect witnesses likely to appear before the ICC in relation to the post-election violence. The court, they said, has its own mechanism for shielding its potential witnesses in any country where it has conducted investigations, and that Kenya is no exception.
"We have no link to those witnesses we are reading in the media are being protected by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. All our witnesses are under our care wherever they are," said Molito.
Molitor said the ICC has undertaken to protect all its witnesses, but declined to disclose their location.
"We are protecting our witnesses, but we cannot reveal where they are and even who they are," said Molitor.
The official said the ICC was not intending to use the post-election violence witnesses identified by the Justice Philip Waki Commission or the Kenya National Human Rights Commission.
"We have identified our own witnesses against the six suspects, and we are going to use them when the hearing starts. Where they are, we can’t reveal at the moment, or even in future," said Fletcher.
The duo cautioned the media against what they termed speculations on who the ICC witnesses were and their protection. They clarified that the ICC was only protecting a few witnesses, while it was the responsibility of the Government to protect the rest.
They explained that the reports compiled by the Waki Commission and the KNCHR were received as communications by the ICC, but were not binding on the court.
"The two Commissions’ reports were mere communications to the ICC. They are not binding on ICC and can be used in Kenya by any tribunal to be established in future. We started our own process and ended up with our own evidence with new witnesses," they said.
They noted that in arriving at the six and identifying key witnesses, the ICC used information in the media some in the Internet to get clues.