ICC grants former Raila aide interview

Officials from the International Criminal Court have agreed to a preliminary interview with a former aide to Prime Minister Raila Odinga, we can report.

Mr Tony Gachoka, who served as Raila’s Chief of Protocol for ten months, claims he has “very damaging information” about the ODM leader’s actions during the 2008 post-election violence.

He has also claimed to have proof the PM struck a deal with unnamed local and international powerbrokers in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

“The Prime Minister has not been forthcoming about what he knows and what he did during the turbulent days of 2007 and 2008,” Gachoka has charged. He says he came to learn all this while managing the PM’s diary and sitting in on key meetings between May 2008 and March 2009.

Raila has, however, denied Gachoka was in charge of his diary or sat in on the alleged meetings. The PM’s office says Raila had no role in either the crimes against humanity that followed the election or the naming of ICC suspects.

The Standard On Saturday has exclusively established plans are under way for a secure interview between Gachoka and a high-ranking staffer at the Office of the Prosecutor. The development came hours after the former protocol officer complained of a “stony silence” from Ms Fatou Bensouda’s office in response to a letter he wrote ten days ago.

In the letter, dated August 1 and published as an advert in the media, Gachoka offered to provide evidence or testify as a witness, if necessary, to help the ICC “get the culprits behind the post-election violence”. It is not clear how his alleged evidence relates to either of the Kenya cases awaiting full trial at the ICC. “The information I hold is extremely prejudicial to some of the most powerful and influential personalities in Kenya,” Gachoka said, expressing fears he and his family were in danger. At a press conference in Nairobi on July 26, ICC officials confirmed they are still gathering evidence on “the Kenya situation”. On Thursday night, they reached out to Gachoka with a proposal on how he could provide the information safely.

The Hague-based court plans to hold two trials in April 2013 on PEV in Kenya, with four accused in the dock: The Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, and radio personality Joshua arap Sang.

While the ICC holds a list with dozens of alleged perpetrators, it is not expected to pursue any other individuals. Former Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo ruled out charges against either President Kibaki or PM Raila Odinga.  His successor Fatou Bensouda has not indicated she plans to depart from these positions. Her investigations could, however, be affected materially if Gachoka provides credible evidence to ICC investigators to support his claims.

Gachoka will draw investigators’ attention to alleged changes made to a key report provided to the ICC to help with its investigations. At a press conference on Thursday, Gachoka accused Raila of conspiring with several people to have his name deleted from a list of alleged perpetrators of various PEV crimes.

Gachoka says questions were raised during closed sessions of the Commission of Inquiry into Post- Election Violence (the Waki Commission) over the existence of more than one report from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

He says ODM had a hand in the changes made to the final report and fingers Hassan Omar, then a Kenya National Commission on Human Rights official, as the man behind the changes. The former KNCHR commissioner, now aspiring to run for a seat in the Senate, is an ODM member and an official of the Friends of Raila lobby group.

This is not the first time KNCHR has been accused of removing certain names and even entire paragraphs from its report on post-election crimes.

Similar claims were made immediately after the release of the public version of the report. Following accusations of political interference, KNCHR chairperson Florence Jaoko explained that there were some omissions in the body of the report due to a rush to finish the job.

The Waki Commission accepted On The Brink of the Precipice, Final Report, dated August 15, 2008 into evidence as Exhibit 125 after considering KNCHR’s explanation in a closed session. All other versions of the document were embargoed.

 A version given to journalists this week shows references to alleged incitement to violence a public gathering by a senior ODM official. Moreno-Ocampo has also been clear the ICC did not rely entirely on the Waki and KNCHR report or any of the other thousands of documents submitted to them.

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