Thursday, 26 January 2012


Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir
A Kenyan judge on Monday formally issued a provisional arrest warrant for the Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir in line with a ruling he made late last year saying that Nairobi had an obligation to apprehend him.
“Whereas the High Court of Kenya Hereby issues this provisional warrant of arrest against the said Omar al-Bashir and commands you, Professor George Saitoti, E.G.H., M.P., Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security and, failing you, the Minister for the time responsible for matters relating to national security, to apprehend the said Omar al-Bashir should he come to Kenya, and to surrender him to the International Criminal Court", said the warrant signed by judge Nicholas Ombija.
Ombija is the same judge who granted a motion filed by the Kenyan chapter of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) that sought to compel Nairobi to detain the Sudanese leader if he sets foot in the country.
Kenya is a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which in 2009 and 2010 issued two arrest warrants for Bashir on ten counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide he allegedly committed in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.
Despite the country’s legal obligation under the ICC’s statute, it chose to receive Bashir in August 2010 without arresting him, prompting the ICJ to move the issue to the local High Court.
Kenyan officials argue that they are bound by African Union (AU) resolutions instructing its members not to cooperate with the ICC with regard to Bashir even if they are ICC members.
They also said the move would hamper their mediation efforts between Khartoum and Juba in their ongoing dispute. This prompted Kenya’s chief justice Willy Mutunga to warn the executive branch that they should respect decisions of the judiciary.
In response to last year’s ruling, Sudan ordered Kenya’s ambassador out of the country within 72 hours and recalled its envoy in Nairobi as well. The decision was put on hold however, following a visit by Kenyan foreign minister Moses Wetangula to Khartoum with a letter from the Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki.
When he returned, Wetangula said that Bashir had wanted to evict all Kenyans in Sudan, close airspace for planes heading to Kenya and freeze bilateral trade, but this was reversed after his meeting with the Sudanese leader.
But Sudan issued a statement shortly after the visit giving Kenya two weeks to have the decision reversed or else it will proceed with sanctions as originally planned. The deadline has passed without any action on Khartoum’s part.
Last month the Sudanese ambassador to Kenya Kamal Ismail Saeed downplayed the row further saying that the judge’s ruling will not affect bilateral relations and that his country is determined to strengthen ties further in all areas.
Kenya’s attorney general said last month that the government appealed the judge’s order based on its conviction that Bashir, as a sitting head of state, enjoys full immunity under international law from criminal prosecution.
This week the appellate chamber was expected to make a procedural decision on a preliminary objection raised by ICJ stating that the Attorney General is not the proper representative of the Kenyan government in criminal cases such as the one involving Bashir.
But the concerned judges were reportedly out in the city of Mombasa and will set a new date for their ruling on the matter which does not relate to the heart of the government’s appeal in the case.
Kenyan official expect that the case could last a year with a possibility that it could reach the Supreme Court.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Pirates leave a merchant vessel that they seized for the
Somali shore in September 2008. U.S. military forces freed
aid workers kidnapped by pirates in October 2011.
Photo by: Jason R. Zalasky / U.S. Navy
U.S. military forces came like a thief in the night on Wednesday (Jan. 25) in Somalia, taking with them two foreign aid workers kidnapped by pirates in October.
The military forces freed American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Thisted, who have been in captivity for three months. The two were abducted near the town of Galkayo in Putland along with a Somali colleague, who later on was detained by police on suspicion of being involved in the kidnapping. The Danish Refugee Council, which runs the Danish Demining Group that employ the two, said they are now on their way to be reunited with their families.
Two helicopters attacked the site — 20 kilometers north of Adado — where the hostages were being held, according to a pirate named Ahmed Hashi. Another pirate, who identified himself as Bile Hussein, said those present at the scene told him nine pirates had been killed.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama, in a statement released by the White House and quoted by the The Associated Press, praised the troops that carried out the raid. Obama said he authorized the rescue mission, which took place just before he delivered his 2012 State of the Union address.
Early January, two abducted Spanish aid workers working for Médecins Sans Frontières have also been reportedly sold to pirates from Somalia’s Mudug region. No word yet on their whereabouts.


Photo/FILE ICC prosecutor Moreno Ocampo admitted that his
investigations into the roles played by Mr Kosgey and Mr Ali
were short in substance.
International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will investigate afresh the killings of civilians by police during the post-election violence.
Although Mr Moreno-Ocampo on Tuesday said he would not appeal the rejection of evidence against Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and Postmaster General Hussein Ali, he said his team would focus more on Kisumu and Kibera slums in Nairobi to reassess possible complicity by the police in the violence.
Speaking a day after the Pre-Trial Chamber issued its ruling, the ICC prosecutor admitted that his investigations into the roles played by Mr Kosgey and Mr Ali were short in substance, but promised to dig out more details with a view to seeking a new confirmation of charges.
“The decision to release the two was based on factual analysis. What we need to do now is more research. The police were providing free zones for the Mungiki, that is why we thought Mr Ali was involved. That is why we are going back to check on Kibera and Kisumu,” he said.
The team, he added, would also look into possible evidence that could link Mr Kosgey to the organisation that perpetrated the chaos in Rift Valley.
The prosecutor had presented a single witness against Mr Kosgey, but his testimony was thrown out by the Pre-Trial Chamber on grounds of being insufficient.
Mr Moreno-Ocampo expressed his delight at the confirmation of charges against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret MP William Ruto, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and Kass FM Radio presenter Joshua arap Sang, adding that it would take up to a year before the Trial Chamber was constituted. (READ: How court reached decision to charge four)
He explained that this was because the suspects had already said they would be challenging the Pre-Trial Chamber decision and the appeals would delay the speedy conclusion of the cases.
“The prosecution is preparing for trial but if the judges accept the appeal, this will delay the beginning of the trial.  This further delay may be frustrating for victims but this is the legal process and we have to respect it.”
The prosecutor said that he might consider consolidating the two cases but that it would be up to the Trial Chamber judges to rule on that.
The prosecutor said that Monday’s ruling was “critically important in many dimensions” because it did not only establish individual responsibility for the post-electoral violence but was also a precursor to a peaceful Kenya.