Monday, February 24, 2014

Turkana Leaders Want 25% of Oil Revenues Retained In The Area

Thursday, February 6, 2014

International Court To Decide Future Of Kenyan President Trial


Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta attends an Extraordinary Summit of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Heads of State during the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2014. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta attends an Extraordinary Summit of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Heads of State during the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2014. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The fate of the politically fraught trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta could be decided on Wednesday, when prosecutors at the International Criminal Court plead for more time.
Kenyatta's lawyers hope the case will be thrown out, putting an end to a trial that has driven a wedge between African countries - which criticise the ICC for targeting their continent - and the court's Western backers.
The Kenyatta trial is crucial to the ICC, which has secured only one conviction and suffered a string of collapsed cases since it was set up 11 years ago. Kenya says the court risks destabilising east Africa if it presses on with the charges.
Western countries, while keen to back the ICC, are also anxious to maintain relations with Kenya, seen as a key ally in the battle against militant Islamism in neighbouring Somalia.
Kenyatta is charged with crimes against humanity during the violence that swept Kenya six years ago, when 1,200 died and thousands were driven from their homes. He denies the charges.
ICC prosecutors say he orchestrated the clashes, but their case has been weakened by the withdrawal of a string of witnesses since charges were first brought four years ago.
The trial had been due to start on Wednesday, but was postponed for a fourth time last month when prosecutors said another witness had withdrawn, and requested more time to gather evidence.
Prosecutors say their witnesses have been blackmailed or intimidated into withdrawing.
In a January 31 court filing, prosecutors said a "climate of fear" had weakened their case against Kenyatta, and said judges should rule that Kenya was in breach of its obligation to help the court's investigators.
"Several individuals with information relevant to the case refused to agree to be included on the prosecution's witness list due to fears that they or their family members would be targeted," prosecutors said in the filing.
The case has grown only more controversial throughout Africa since Kenyatta, the son of his country's founder, won a presidential election last year on a joint ticket with William Ruto, his deputy, who is on trial on similar but separate charges.
Following his victory, Kenyatta used his position as leader of East Africa's economic powerhouse to rally African Union allies in a diplomatic push to have the United Nations Security Council defer the case against him.
Although that bid was unsuccessful, the ICC's 122 member states did agree to change court rules to make it easier for heads of state facing charges to give evidence by video link.
Prosecutors say authorities have obstructed attempts to interview police officers, and have given investigators only limited access to phone records crucial to building their case.
"Kenyatta's statements in which he accused the court of being 'the toy of declining imperial powers' engaged in 'bias and race-hunting' and the (Kenyan government's) multi-faceted campaign to derail the ICC process on the diplomatic front suggest a lack of willingness to co-operate," they wrote.
But Kenyatta's lawyers dismissed the prosecution request for extra time, labelling it a "last-ditch attempt ... to obtain fresh evidence in a failed case," and said judges should throw out the charges against their client.
(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

2 Kenya cops due in court for abduction of rebels -, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-


Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - Two Kenyan police officers will be charged in court with the kidnapping of two officials of the Ethiopian rebel group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front, a Kenyan official said Monday.
Nairobi Criminal Investigations chief Nicholas Kamwende said witnesses identified the two Kenyan officers as having allegedly abducted of Sulub Abdi Ahmed and Ali Ahmed Hussein on Jan. 26 outside a restaurant in the capital, Nairobi.
The two police officers were brought to court on Monday but the reading of their charges was postponed until Thursday.
Court documents show that Kenyan police believe that after their abduction Ahmed and Hussein were taken to Ethiopia. The rebels want an independent state for Ethiopia's Ogaden region, which is mostly inhabited by ethnic Somalis.
Ahmed and Hussein were part of Ogaden rebel team in Kenya for negotiations with the Ethiopian government, said Abdi Rahman Mahdi, the chief negotiator for rebels told AP from London in a telephone interview.
Mahdi said on the day they were abducted, Ahmed, a negotiator, and Hussein, a member of the negotiation team's secretariat, were invited for lunch by an unknown person.
When the two walked out of the restaurant after lunch, six men came out of two cars and attempted to grab them but they resisted causing a melee, Mahdi said reconstructing event from witnesses and accounts given to him by the Kenya police.
Mahdi said Ahmed and Hussein were subdued when one of the abductors pulled out a police identification card and shouted for help from the crowd gathering around to see the commotion claiming that he was arresting two terrorists "who were planning to bomb the country."
He said with help from some people from the crowd the abductors forced Ahmed and Hussein into the cars using blows and kicks. Mahdi said the two were driven to Moyale, at the Kenyan-Ethiopia border where they were picked up by helicopters
"We fear for their lives and their well-being," he said. Mahdi said he did not think the Kenyan government knew about the abduction and claimed it was solely the work of the Ethiopian military commander in charge of Eastern Command under which the Ogaden region falls.
Shimelis Kemal, an Ethiopian government spokesman, said he has no information about the alleged kidnapping of Ogaden officials in Nairobi.
Mahdi said without the unconditional release of the two rebel members negotiations with Ethiopia will not resume and Kenya will no longer be safe as a venue to hold the talks. He said Kenya has been working to revive the talks.
"If they're not returned safely it will be very hard for us to face another round of talks with Ethiopia let alone coming to Kenya," he said.
Negotiation between the Ethiopian government and Ogaden rebels broke down in Oct 2012 after the Ethiopian government side walked out of the talks. Mahdi claimed the Ethiopian government made demands for the talks to begin which the rebels refused because both parties had agreed there should be no pre-conditions for the talks to be held.
The Ogaden rebels are blamed for the 2007 attack on a Chinese-run oil field in the region in which scores died.
Associated Press Writer Elias Meseret contributed to this report from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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