ICC prosecutor offers to answer questions

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo has offered to answer questions of Kenyans’ on local radio stations about the case against perpetrators of the 2008 post-election violence. Tomorrow he will release the names of six post-election violence suspects.

By Kassim Mohamed, Nairobi 

Media experts have welcomed the prosecutor’s move as a good gesture that will facilitate feedback from the victims of the violence, which left 1,133 people dead and over 650,000 homeless.

“It is apparent that Moreno-Ocampo considers local media to be directly connected to the people in the grassroots,” said Mr Brice Rambaud of Internews Kenya, a media development organisation.

'Ask-Ocampo' radio
The prosecutor suggested that the radio stations can start a monthly ‘Ask-Ocampo’ segment, where they can gather the questions that people have over the process and send them to him so he can answer them directly.

“We want to explain to everybody affected how we proceed with our cases,” the Moreno-Ocampo said. “We want to receive their questions and comments and the concerns they have.”

The prosecutor noted that community and local-language radio stations “have a bigger role in dividing or uniting Kenyans.”

Radio requests
The prosecutor’s offer came as journalists and presenters of radio stations constantly requested updates of the process as the prosecutor prepares to presents his case before the ICC judges.

“Information needs to trickle down to the people to help manage expectations,” said Tomothy Kirui of Kass FM, which broadcasts in the Kalenjin language, spoken in the Rift Valley where much of the violence happened. “When you issue arrest warrants or summons it will be very challenging.”

The government's challenge
Moreno-Ocampo acknowledged that there will be bigger challenges ahead as the process gains momentum and said the media will play a significant role in guiding the country through the process.

 “It is a challenge for the coalition to keep working together. It is a challenge for communities to keep finding ways to coexist and that is one of the priorities for me,” the prosecutor told the media. “That is why you are critically important; you are a voice for your village and your people.” 

Media support
Kenya's media personalities welcomed the offer for more engagement with the ICC saying it will be important in assuring the people that the process is not flawed. 

“Leaders are telling the people that they cannot trust the ICC,” Benjamin Wangari of the Kikuyu-language Inooro FM said; “I will now speak to the people with authority after meeting Ocampo one-on-one, my people will trust me.”

A number of reports released following the post-election violence pointed a finger at some local-language radio stations as having incited violence.


Source : Radio Netherlands Worldwide