Ex-police boss confronts human rights lawyer over ICC issue

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Former Commissioner of Police Major-General (rtd) Hussein Ali who was fired for his role in mass murder, confronted Mr George Kegoro at a restaurant in Naivasha, describing members of the Waki Commission and other civil society activists as prostitutes.

A public clash between a former post-election violence indictee and a prominent human rights lawyer could be the latest indication that the fallout over the International Criminal Court (ICC) cases is far from over.

Former Commissioner of Police Major-General (rtd) Hussein Ali is alleged to have confronted Mr George Kegoro at a restaurant in Naivasha, describing members of the Waki Commission and other civil society activists as prostitutes.

He said the activists had sold out to foreigners by setting up the “Ocampo Six” to stand prosecution before the ICC for crimes against humanity.

And Mr Ali asked Mr Kegoro to deliver the same message to Court of Appeal Judge Justice Philip Waki who chaired the Commission of Inquiry Into Post-Election Violence (Cipev).

The confrontation took place on April 16, the same day the former “Ocampo Six” held a thanksgiving and reconciliation rally at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru, following the termination of charges against Deputy President William Ruto and former journalist Joshua Sang.

A public clash between a former post-election violence indictee and a prominent human rights lawyer could be the latest indication that the fallout over the International Criminal Court (ICC) cases is far from over.

Former Commissioner of Police Major-General (rtd) Hussein Ali is alleged to have confronted Mr George Kegoro at a restaurant in Naivasha, describing members of the Waki Commission and other civil society activists as prostitutes.

He said the activists had sold out to foreigners by setting up the “Ocampo Six” to stand prosecution before the ICC for crimes against humanity.

And Mr Ali asked Mr Kegoro to deliver the same message to Court of Appeal Judge Justice Philip Waki who chaired the Commission of Inquiry Into Post-Election Violence (Cipev).

The confrontation took place on April 16, the same day the former “Ocampo Six” held a thanksgiving and reconciliation rally at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru, following the termination of charges against Deputy President William Ruto and former journalist Joshua Sang.

The “Ocampo Six”, as they were known during the trials, comprised President Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Ruto, Mr Sang, former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, former Cabinet minister Henry Kosgey and Major-General (rtd) Ali.

The two bumped into each other at the restaurant at around 7.30 am, hours before the Afraha rally.

“The moment the general (Ali) saw Mr Kegoro, he started shouting at him and referring to members of the Waki Commission as prostitutes serving foreigners. He was mocking them and other civil society activists about their next move now that the ICC cases had all collapsed. There were voices raised and it was not the best of scenes,” a source who was at the restaurant told the Sunday Nation.

With the situation reportedly getting out of hand, Mr Kegoro was escorted out of the restaurant by Nairobi lawyer Evans Monari who had joined the former police boss.

Mr Monari was the legal representative for Maj-Gen Ali at The Hague.

‘I AM NOT BITTER’

Mr Monari, however, downplayed the event when the Sunday Nation reached him for a comment.

“The NGO guys are trying to look for a story after the ICC cases collapsed. It was not really a confrontation. It was a discussion. I was there and witnessed it. These guys are cooking up a storm in a teacup. You will never see General Ali in a confrontation. He is a gentleman,” said the lawyer.

But Mr Monari admitted having escorted Mr Kegoro out of the restaurant and into his car.

“Kegoro is my friend and I only told him the discussion had ended and escorted him to his car. These NGO guys have nothing to cling to after ICC.”

Even as Mr Monari was downplaying the incident, Mr Kegoro is understood to be preparing to head back to Naivasha to file a formal complaint with the police.

“I am treating the incident as a naked threat and still weighing my options,” he told the Sunday Nation but declined to get into the details of the confrontation.

Just hours after the exchange in Naivasha, Maj-Gen Ali declared at the rally that he was not bitter with his accusers.

“It is said that truth cannot be hidden. However much a lie is embellished, the truth will always come out in the open. And today we are witnessing that. We are not here to blame any person but to join Kenyans in thanksgiving,” he said in a brief speech at the rally.

Mr Kegoro and Mr David Majanja, now a High Court judge, were the joint secretaries to the Waki Commission.

Members of the commission were Appeal Court Judge Justice Waki, Gavin Alistair McFadyen from New Zealand (who was one of the expert witnesses against Mr Ruto and Mr Sang) and lawyer Pascal Kambale from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mr Kegoro is now the executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), which is among civil society organisations that have been demanding justice for the PEV victims.

SOUL SEARCHING

Before the Waki Commission published its report on the violence, the State-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) had conducted investigations and produced a report, On the Brink of the Precipice: A Human Rights Account of Kenya’s Post 2007 Election Violence, documenting the violence and naming suspected perpetrators.

Human rights activists who talked to the Sunday Nation, however, claimed that what happened in Naivasha may be a demonstration that some of the former ICC indictees or their supporters plan to tighten the noose around civil society activists accused of having worked with The Hague court, perceived ICC “fixers” and those who allegedly procured witnesses as well as journalists.

Three days after the Trial Chamber’s majority decision terminating the case against Mr Ruto and Mr Sang, the Deputy President on April 8 said that although some people had fabricated lies against them, he had decided to forgive and move on.

“It is my prayer that one day, those who connived, conspired and colluded to manufacture this case, those who bribed and coached people to testify to events that never took place, those who in the words of (ICC) judge Robert Fremr ‘demonstrated a willingness to lie in return for personal gain and induce others to lie as well, apparently without concern for the significant implications of such dishonesty,’ will engage in soul searching and find their conscience,” he said.

On Saturday, lawyer Haron Ndubi said claims of physical threats, sabotaging government officials including two serving judicial officers and bringing trumped-up charges against individuals perceived to have interacted with the ICC are not far-fetched.

“I have heard of some document ostensibly from the former indictees or their supporters with names of individuals suspected to have interacted with the ICC. It is not criminal to work with the ICC. It is perfectly legal. Any attempt to clamp down on civil society organisations will be retrogressive and politically costly. That anger against so-called fixers is a pointer to their relief from their personal fears,” said Mr Ndubi.

“I cannot downplay or ignore the threats but they could also be intended to serve as a deterrent against the less courageous. And that would mean the threats could be very serious.”

“Don’t forget people who were important to the case have been eliminated. Also, since the threat of the cases being potentially capable of being started afresh exists, an incentive for scorched-earth policy could be an option.”

CRACKING THE WHIP

However, he did not say whether or not the rights defenders will be making formal complaints with the police.

“No comment on that for now,” he said.

Another human rights activist Ken Wafula said he was not ruling out “hard ball tactics” from some of the indictees or people close to them.

“One cannot rule out something of that sort. Some people are mischievous and malicious,” the Eldoret-based rights activist said.

On April 5, the day when the no-case-to-answer decision was delivered, Mr Ruto’s close ally, Nairobi lawyer Donald Kipkorir, left a chilling message on his Facebook page directed at perceived ‘fixers’.

Part of the post read: “For the remaining term in office, the Deputy President must crack the whip and remove all who were disrespectful and disloyal to him. Those who thought the Presidency is one part, must now read the writing on the wall! It is time for prayers & celebrations; but also time for whipping & weeping!”

Via Daily Nation.

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