Azimio writes to ICC, asks prosecutor to investigate police IG Japheth Koome

Friday, April 14th, 2023 18:15 | By
Azimio writes to ICC, asks prosecutor to investigate police IG Japheth Koome
Police IG Japheth Koome. Photo/Courtesy

Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition has written to the office of the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeking investigations into the political situation in Kenya.

In the letter signed by Azimio's legal representative Paul Mwangi, the coalition tells ICC that the August 9, 2022, presidential election caused the current political situation in the country.

"President William Ruto was controversially announced as the winner of the Presidential Election. Throughout the election period, the issue of technology was at the centre of concerns regarding the integrity of the elections.

"Smartmatics International Limited Holdings B.V, a controversial international company that is a voting technology supplier, had been contracted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to manage the 2022 elections. Media reports showed that the company had been involved in manipulation of elections in other countries.

"Ever since William Ruto was sworn in as President of Kenya on 13th September 2022, his Kenya Kwanza regime has exhibited disdain for the Constitution and laws of Kenya and contempt for democracy and its institutions.

"The state has moved quickly to capture the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Judiciary. Everyday critical decisions have been made in flagrant violation of Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity which has seen the withdrawal of all criminal charges from members of the ruling coalition and their appointment to the Cabinet and other senior government positions.

Azimio added that they organised demonstrations against the government to protest against the deteriorating political and economic situation in Kenya.

"To prevent any criticism, the regime has destroyed the political opposition by bribing its members and recruiting them to take positions against their party leadership, and targeted the free press by pressuring management of media institutions to sack journalists critical of the regime and also physically assaulting cameramen while on duty covering opposition activities.

"To protest against the deteriorating political and economic situation in Kenya, the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party called for nationwide demonstrations through the exercise of the fundamental rights enshrined under Article 1(1) and (2) and in Article 37 of the Constitution of the Constitution of Kenya," Azimio said in the letter.

Azimio further documented what it termed as crimes committed by the state during the demos, singling out the Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome as the main culprit.

"This communication states that during the protests, the Inspector General of the National Police Service Japheth Koome ordered attacks on the supporters of Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition party that resulted in deaths and injuries and ordered indiscriminate arrests all which were part of a widespread and systematic attack on persons known or suspected to be members, supporters or sympathisers of Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition party who are identified by their political affiliation contrary to Article 7 (1) (h) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (“the Rome Statute”) , to wit, Crime against humanity of persecution."

In its letter to the ICC prosecutor, Azimio accuses Koome of committing eight serious crimes.

The coalition claims that the police IG established a special squad of rogue police officers to unleash terror on its supporters during the demos.

"The squads are reported to be dressed in plain clothes, to operate outside the normal command structure and to take direction directly from select commanders appointed for that purpose by
Japheth Koome," Azimio said.

The coalition also said that Koome abrogated the constitutional rights of its members by unconstitutionally and illegally banning the demos.

Azimio added that the police IG threatened its members with death and physical injury should they attempt to exercise the said rights.

Azimio also claims that there were deliberate attempts by the police to assassinate its leader Raila Odinga on April 3, 2023, at around the Pipeline area of Embakasi South Constituency.

"On 3rd April 2023 at 1630 hours, at around the Pipeline area of Embakasi South Constituency in Nairobi City, a contingent of police officers approached the motor vehicle in which the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition party leader Raila Odinga was being ferried in and fired approximately ten round of live ammunition with a clear intention to kill him.

"A report of the attack was made the next day and a complaint lodged the same day but no action was taken. Prior to this assassination attempt, the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya had publicly
stated that it was necessary that Raila Odinga be “dealt with” and “removed” permanently," Azimio said.

Azimio also blamed Koome for the invasion of the Kenyatta family farm and the attack on the Odinga family gas plant.

"The suspect Japheth Koome has acted as a conspirator in a widespread attack organized by leaders of the ruling Kenya Kwanza coalition against the properties of the leaders of Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition party by withdrawing police protection form such property prior to the attacks and refusing to act on any complaints against officers suspected to have been active facilitators of such attacks.

"On Monday, March 27, 2023, a gang of young persons mobilized by political leaders of the Kenya Kwanza coalition invaded the development known as the Northlands City property owned by the family immediately former President Uhuru Kenyatta and destroyed property and made away with livestock.

"On the same day, another attack was also staged by another gang of young persons also mobilized by Kenya Kwanza coalition leaders at a company that makes gas cylinders called East Africa Spectre Limited, belonging to the family of Raila Odinga.

"At the time of the attacks, Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga were the Chairman and Party Leader respectively of the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition party and were openly blamed by the political leadership of Kenya Kwanza including by the President and Deputy President of financing and mobilizing the demonstrations of members of the Azimio coalition," Azimio said.

Azimio also accused Koome of killing and maiming demonstrators.

The coalition noted that Kenya submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the ICC being a party to the Roman Statute that established the court.

Azimio, therefore, called on the ICC prosecutor to submit its petition to the Pre-Trial Chamber for authorization of an investigation into the said crimes.

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