A top detective vehemently denied that Kenya’s police participated in the violence that erupted after the disputed December 2007 presidential poll during his testimony before the International Criminal Court (ICC) today.
Mohamed Ibrahim Amin, who was the top detective in the Rift Valley during the post-election violence, told the court on Tuesday the violence that erupted in Nakuru and Naivasha in late January 2008 was spontaneous and not organized as the prosecution alleges.
He said he did not receive orders to allow the Mungiki criminal gang to kill and commit other crimes in those towns. Amin also said that he did not hear that other officers were given such orders by their superiors or the then Police Commissioner, Mohammed Hussein Ali, who is a suspect before the court. Amin now works at the Criminal Investigation Department headquarters in the capital Nairobi.
Amin gave his testimony as a defense witness for Ali during the eleventh day of hearings before Pre-Trial Chamber II. The judges of the chamber are holding the sessions, formally called confirmation of charges hearings, to help them sift through the prosecution’s case and decide whether it should proceed to trial.
ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo wants Ali and two other suspects charged with five counts of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the bloodshed that saw more than 1,000 people killed over a two-month period across the country. The other suspects are Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kirimi Muthaura and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, who is also the country’s finance chief.
Ocampo alleges the three are the masterminds of or contributed to the violence in the two towns by planning for Mungiki to unleash terror against non-Kikuyus in retaliation for the killings of Kikuyus in the northern part of the Rift Valley.
“Why I am saying that those attacks were spontaneous is we never had an indication,” Amin told the court as he was led in his evidence by Ali’s lead counsel, Gregory Kehoe. “Naivasha was an oasis of peace when other parts of Rift Valley erupted in violence. The same applied to Nakuru.”
He also said that the weapons he saw civilians carrying in Naivasha looked like the sort one just picked up such as machetes and clubs.
“But if a gang is organized, I think they will be more sophisticated. They’ll look for firearms,” Amin said.
He also said that he and his officers investigated allegations that Mungiki were transported in military trucks to Naivasha and Nakuru, but they did not find any evidence of it. Amin also said there was no truth to the allegation that there were people who were not officers who were wearing military or police uniforms at the time.
Amin, however, seemed most irked by the allegation that Ali had given orders to the police not to interfere with Mungiki during that period, despite a police crackdown on the gang.
“It’s like somebody asking me to take a rope and go and commit suicide. It’s impossible. There’s no way we would allow that,” Amin said. “Will I tell the Luo officer stand aside so that Mungiki can unleash terror on your people? That is not possible.”
Prosecutor Adesola Adeboyejo questioned Amin about why his statement to Ali’s defense team made this year was similar to his testimony to the government-appointed commission that investigated the post-election violence three years ago.
“Even if I am to record 10 other statements…the contents would be the same,” Amin said.
Much of Adeboyejo’s questioning touched on confidential matters, which saw the court go into private session three times. When the court came out of its third private session, Morris Anyah, the victims’ lawyer began his cross-examination of Amin, highlighting the fact that a number of his clients claimed the police participated in or did not help victims during the violence.
“There were many exchanges and in a situation of violence collaterals are always there,” Amin said, adding that the police did not deliberately shoot any one.
“Were it not for General Ali and the police, God forbid, our country would have been in a conflict situation now,” said Amin.
I wonder what else Amin could have testified. He was part and parcel of the whole thing whether there were orders or no orders to facilitate the Mungiki landings at Nakuru and Naivasha. He is just trying to distance Ali from the Mungiki angle.
The facts coming out from these proceedings appear to indicate that all those who are currently appearing before the Court have challenged the evidence of the proscutor quite convincingly; While it is necessary to get justice for those who perished and those still suffering due to the post elections violence, it will not be different from the sufferings of the dead and displaced if innocent persons will be made to suffer for crimes they have not committed.
If the ICC proceeds with this cases to full trial and that the current process is just a process to fulfill the steps of the conveyor belt, we kenyans then loose twice unfortunately.
Ibrahim, the Prosecution has presented evidence from witnesses, and the Defense has presented contradictory evidence from witnesses. Deciding which witnesses are more believable is what the trial is all about. Once again, this is not even a mini-trial. At this stage what is required to go to trial is “substantial grounds”, and only the judges can decide what is convincing in that regard. Keep two things in mind: First, just as you are convinced of your view, there are others who are convinced of the opposite view. Second, the judges have a great deal of redacted evidence that not even the Defence has seen, let alone random observers on internet blogs.
Well said James Otieno
The Detective said so many things,he seems to be a good detective and I hope he does that much while on duty.What I saw from him is that he can be a good student and can follow the teacher without asking much.But there are two things which the detective left me with,one is that he kept on naming the rift valley PPO and am left asking why didn’t Mr Ali called the PPO as his witness in place of the detective.Two,the detective said the mungiki are out for hare,by him saying this then one does not need to go to a law school to read between the lines.
I do not understand the argument that presenting contradicting evidence turns the trial into a mini-trial as some would like to purport! What are you supposed to do? Just refute the claims and not state(give evidence) why you are refuting the claims?? To disprove a theory, and remember O’campo claimed to have a theory, you either argue to the contrary following logic(inductively or deductively), you can suppose the claims are true but arrive at a contradiction or you can provide a counter example! That is what they teach in logic and I saw the defense apply all those strategies convincingly!
The defence was largely inept. Only Gregory Kehoe (and before him George Oraro) have shown to have understood what their agency in the _present_ phase of the trial could at all be. The rest was blustering and filibustering.
@Paul Mwanza: “I do not understand the argument that presenting contradicting evidence turns the trial into a mini-trial as some would like to purport!”
You really ought to read more carefully; nobody stated, or even implied, what you have written above. The “mini-trial” reference is a general remark for people whose idea of the law is limited to TV shows, where a few blows (starting at 9:4PM, when the case seems lost) manages to save the case, the suspect is convicted or freed, and everyone happily goes to bed on the dot at 10PM. Those are the people who will shout (like the headlines in Kenyan media), “The Defence shredded Ocampo’s case!”, “Ocampo hopeless! Fails to destroy a calm Kenyatta!”, etc. etc. etc. A lot of people have failed to understand what this stage of the proccedings is about or even what actuall happened in the hearings.
As a matter of fact, the Defence destroyed very little; they tried, manfully to make good use of exonerating evidence given to them by Ocampo himself, but they still came short. Some of what they submitted made for good television but was actualy rather pointless: e.g. what sort of convincing alibi says he could have been at that meeting on that day because here we have media-proof of him being at a rally 45 miles away on that same day?