Prosecutor warns Kenyans against disobeying court

AP News
Posted: Mar 14, 2011 10:52 AM
Prosecutor warns Kenyans against disobeying court

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Monday warned six Kenyans facing charges of crimes against humanity that they will be arrested if they do not follow conditions set by the court.

Six Kenyans _ among them Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta _ have been summoned to appear before the court on April 7 to answer to charges of crimes against humanity for Kenya's 2007-08 postelection violence that claimed more than 1,000 lives.

Luis Moreno Ocampo said the suspects must not threaten prosecutorial witnesses, and that the court is looking at allegations that some witnesses have been interfered with.

"If the suspects threatens the witnesses or violate the rules adopted by the judges then the summons could be transformed into arrest warrants and they would be arrested," Moreno Ocampo said, speaking from the court in The Hague, Netherlands, to reporters in Kenya via video link.

Other suspects include former Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey, former Higher Education Minister William Ruto, former police chief Hussein Ali, Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura and radio broadcaster Joshua Sang.

Other conditions set by the court include that the six should not have contact with any person believed to be a victim or witness of the crimes and to refrain from influencing a witness through corrupt means.

The court's judges did not grant Moreno Ocampo's request to order the suspects not to have contact with each other.

Moreno Ocampo also said Monday he will write to the Kenyan government over concerns that Muthaura's position as head of Kenya's National Security Committee could give him power over the police, which he could use to protect his interests.

The prosecutor said he will also look into Kenyatta's position as a member of the Witness Protection Advisory Board, which is in the process of establishing a witness protection program.

Last year a lawyer representing Ruto told The Associated Press that he had made contact with ICC witnesses who were in hiding at a safe house in Tanzania. Charles Koech said he spoke to witnesses who had been moved to Tanzania by the ICC's witness protection program and who were ready to recant statements they had made against his client.

Kenya was plunged into violence shortly after President Mwai Kibaki was declared winner of the December 2007 vote that supporters of opponent Raila Odinga said was rigged.

More than 600,000 people were forced from their homes during the chaos due to brutal attacks that shattered Kenya's reputation as a haven of stability in a region roiled by war.

The clashes erupted along tribal lines and were only stopped after former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan mediated a peace agreement that created a coalition government in which Odinga was appointed prime minister.