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Kenyan leader says post poll suspects not guilty yet

12-15-2010 21:08 BJT

NAIROBI, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki said on Wednesday the six Kenyans whom the International Criminal Court (ICC) said were behind the country's post election violence are not guilty yet.

In a statement issued minutes after ICC Chief Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo disclosed the suspects names, Kibaki said the six including ministers of finance and industrialization and head of the civil service cannot be judged as guilty until the charges are confirmed by the court.

"I wish to state that the people who have been mentioned have not yet been fully investigated as the pre-trial process in The Hague has only but began. They therefore cannot be judged as guilty until the charges are confirmed by the court," he said.

Kibaki said the he has taken note of the announcement made by Ocampo in regard to the Kenyan case, noting that like other countries, Kenya's overriding desire in subscribing to international conventions is to advance her national interest both internally and internationally. "We do expect, therefore, that the International Criminal Court process will meet our expectations as a nation. Calls for action to be taken against them (six) are therefore prejudicial, preemptive and against the rules of natural justice," Kibaki said.

Addressing a news conference at the Hague, Ocampo said Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and son of Kenya's founding leader Jomo Kenyatta, Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey, former Higher Education Minister William Ruto and former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali were behind the country's post election violence which killed over 1,300 people and displaced 650,000 others in 2007/08.

He said Head of the Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang will also be summoned for instigating the country's worst political violence in Kenya's 47 years of independence.

According to Ocampo, the six stand accused for crimes against humanity in what he calls an orchestrated campaign to displace, torture, persecute and kill civilians during Kenya's election crisis in 2007 and early 2008.

Ocampo said each of the six will be served with a court summons, but if they fail to turn up or if they attempt to hinder the investigation - for example by intimidating witnesses - Ocampo says he will request arrest warrants.

The former police chief Ali stands accused of unleashing police officers to shoot unarmed demonstrators in Western city of Kisumu, and Ruto is widely accused of instigating violence.

In his statement, Kibaki said his government was fully committed to the establishment of a local tribunal to deal with those behind the post election violence, in accordance with stipulations of the new constitution.

As a nation, he said, Kenyans must also focus on the need for national healing and reconciliation, which Kibaki said, was paramount as the country moves forward on the path of national peace and unity. "I also wish to assure Kenyans that the government has intensified security around the country. The government is providing full support to our security forces to enable them perform their duties of protecting the lives of all citizens and their property. I appeal to Kenyans to remain calm," Kibaki said. "The government will remain vigilant and ensure that the rights of its citizens and the dignity of the nation are upheld."

On Tuesday, Ocampo said he expects the suspects, who all deny any wrongdoing, to announce their intention to "surrender voluntarily" and warned them not to intimidate witnesses.

The latest development came amid political tension in the country, though it is unlikely to trigger new conflict, according to authorities.

Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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