Monday, September 27, 2010

ICC is building on Kibaki security chiefs

ICC is building on Kibaki security chiefs

By Ben Agina

International Criminal Court has given the State a breakdown of secret high-levels security meetings whose minutes it wants given as part of its investigations on the masterminds of post-election killings.

News of the unrelenting pressure from ICC for the minutes of such sensitive units as the National Security Intelligence Service and security committees in the hotspot districts and provinces broke ahead of Tuesday's landmark meeting by the Cabinet sub-committee on the Hague-related matters.

The ministers who form the focal point of State's interaction with ICC meet in the morning to deliberate on how the Government will co-operate with Chief Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo's investigators, whose office is expected to indict two prominent Kenyans in December.

Sources told The Standard the sub-committee, headed by Internal Security Minister Prof George Saitoti, will discuss the requests ICC has forwarded to the Government.

The sources also disclosed that Lands Minister James Orengo who is a member of the committee has already written a lengthy letter to his colleagues urging them to support the release of "all" information the team wants.

The sources revealed Orengo was of the view all matters touching on security operations during the post-election violence should be handed over to Ocampo, in order for the Kenyan cases to move forward.

This appeared to contradict Attorney General Amos Wako's earlier claim that the ICC's "blanket demand" for the minutes of the meetings was prejudicial to Kenya's "national security interests". Other members of the sub-committee are Cabinet Ministers Mutula Kilonzo (Justice), Otieno Kajwang (Immigration), Amason Kingi (Fisheries) and Moses Wetangula (Foreign Affairs) and Wako.

They all received copies of ICC correspondence, alongside Kenya's envoy to The Hague, Prof Ruthie Rono.

Responding to Wako's demand to drop "blanket demands" and be specific on the minutes it wants, the ICC wrote back on September 24 outlining the particulars of the records it is seeking, as well as the dates and places the meetings took place.

Shoot-to-kill orders

The request letter comes with complete titles, meaning ICC already is privy to the discussions by President Kibaki's security chiefs and top public servants at the Office of the President during the heady period between December 2007 and March 2008.

The court, from the letter's focus on such documents as the internal regulations of the Administration Police, is keen on getting to the bottom of who gave the shoot-to-kill orders that saw 400 unarmed youths killed by State security personnel.

Further to its earlier letter, ICC wrote to Saitoti on September 22, again seeking facilitation of a meeting between its investigators and Provincial Commissioners and Police Chiefs from four provinces.

In the letters signed by ICC's Head of International Cooperation Mr Amady Ba, the court says it was to interview the PCs and PPOs — most likely on where the uncompromising and selective orders they received in the field came from — on Tuesday (yesterday) through to Tuesday next week. Each province's PC and PPO appear before the ICC team for two consecutive days.

ICC's request for specific minutes gives clearer indication they already are privy to their contents based on the documentations received from Justice Phillip Waki, but wish to corroborate the same as they continue with their investigations.

It also appears to have its radar on some top security aides at the time, by virtue of their official positions.

The court could be interested in what was decided at the security meetings that brought together the then Internal security Minister John Michuki, Police Commissioner Maj-Gen (Rtd) Hussein Ali, Chief of General Staff Gen. Jeremiah Kianga, Director General of NSIS Michael Gichangi, Internal Security PS Francis Kimemia, AP Commandant Kinuthia Mbugua and the Head of Public Service Mr Francis Muthaura, among others.

The court explained the minutes and some specific documents sought by Ocampo's office, "are deemed relevant in order to consider further request from the Government."

"Such information is necessary to assist us in developing as full a picture as possible of the violent events during this period, and the contextual and local background against which they took place, reiterated Ba.

Saitoti chairs the Cabinet sub committee, and was sent the letter because Wako had in his letter told ICC he would be away till September 29. Wako had indicated meetings of the National Security Advisory Committee cover a wide range of issues, which were unrelated to the investigations by the ICC, and asked the Court to specify the minutes they wanted.

The committee's sittings are chaired by the Vice President, who at the time in question was Mr Moody Awori.

This unusually highly guarded group brings together top security chiefs, such as the Chief of General Staff, the Police Commissioner, Director General of National Security Intelligence Service, Internal Security, Defence, Foreign Ministers, and their Permanent Secretaries.

The request appeared to be a key plank in the two cases ICC last week reconfirmed it would be commencing against four to six Kenyans in December.

Amady noted they were in the process of completing the collection of materials from the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence Report, in accordance with recommendation made by Justice Philip Waki.

"We believe the documents requested are likely to include significant information collected at the time of the events by a network of well-placed sources," said Amady.

Sources told The Standard last evening that the Central PPOs had been summoned to Nairobi. The PCs and PPOs lined up for interviews with ICC are from Nyanza, Nairobi, Coast, Rift Valley and Western. But Wako had in an earlier letter to ICC bluntly said the interviews must be restricted to PCs and PPOs "still in Government service".

In further correspondence, with Saitoti, Ba confirmed another assessment mission from the Court's Staff Security Section is expected in Kenya from October 12-20. They will visit the Rift Valley.

Security threat

It also emerged that 40 General Service Unit drivers will be attached to the ICC investigators. ICC is now seeking for minutes of 2007, minuted as 32/2007, Minutes 16/2007 and minutes of meetings held between January to March 2008.

They also want bi-annual security threat assessments for the second half of 2007, and the first half of 2008, and a special report on proscribed groups (like Mungiki) prepared in the context of the issues surrounding the 2007 elections. They also want Flashpoints/Hotspots reports covering several weeks from December 14 2007 to the last week in March 2008.

Also included in the list are security briefs for Nyanza, Western, Rift Valley, Central, and Nairobi Provinces from December 1 to March 31

The Hague expressed direct interest on the security discussions at the Ministry of Internal Security and Provincial Administration.

It asked for "all deployment orders for the Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU), and General Service Unit for the same period."

ICC also asked for minutes of provincial-level meetings chaired by PCs, at which PPOs brief on security matters.


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