December 15, 2010 / 12:34 PM / in 8 years

Kenya's Kibaki says won't act yet against ICC suspects

* Kibaki says those named cannot be judged as guilty

* Kenyan ministers, ex-police chief named as suspects

* ICC case has potential to destabilise Kenyan unity govt

By James Macharia

NAIROBI, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Kenya’s president said on Wednesday he was unlikely to take any action yet against government officials named by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for sponsoring post election violence in the country.

The ICC prosecutor named three Kenyan government ministers and a former police chief among six suspects behind the east African country’s post-election violence following elections in 2007. [ID:nLDE6BE017]

Analysts had said the naming of the suspects could heighten tensions in Kenya, and that changes in the cabinet could follow as leaders come under pressure to resign.

“I wish to state that the people who have been mentioned have not yet been fully investigated as the pre-trial process in The Hague has only but began,” Kibaki said in a statement.

“They therefore cannot be judged as guilty until the charges are confirmed by the court. Calls for action to be taken against them are therefore prejudicial, pre-emptive and against the rules of natural justice.”

ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo started a formal investigation in March 2010 into the violence in which 1,220 people died and more than 350,000 were displaced, severely denting Kenya’s reputation for stability.

Kibaki also reiterated plans to set up a local court to try suspects involved in the violence.

“In the meantime I wish to state that the government is fully committed to the establishment of a local tribunal to deal with those behind the post election violence, in accordance with stipulations of the new constitution,” he said

Kibaki said the government had intensified security around the country to quell any violence or street protests, especially in the Rift Valley, where three of the suspects hail from. [ID:nLDE6BE10G] [ID:nLDE6BE0OK]

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