Nairobi, April 4, 2012 (FH) – Kenya’s new Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa said Tuesday that his ministry was not charged with handling matters relating to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has charged four prominent Kenyans with crimes against humanity.

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Wamalwa declared on Tuesday that ICC matters were supposed to be handled by the Ministry of Internal Security and the office of the Attorney General, in line with the ICC rules.

Last week, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki appointed Wamalwa to replace Mutula Kilonzo, who was moved to the Education Ministry.

Wamalwa is a close ally of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Higher Education William Ruto, two of the four Kenyans charged with crimes against humanity. The two others include former Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.

 “There has been a misapprehension about my appointment and there are those who think that my ministry is in charge of the ICC; that is a misconception, these matters should be handled by the Internal Security and that’s why (Minister George) Saitoti chairs the Cabinet sub-committee on the ICC,” stated the minister.

His predecessor, Mutula Kilonzo, had called on Kenyatta to quit as Deputy Prime Minister and urged him alongside Ruto to halt their presidential ambitions. Kilonzo added that Kenyans – particularly Parliament – let ICC take over the case when it refused to create a local tribunal.

Wamalwa was critical of Kilonzo, telling reporters: “He put a hand in a pie that was not his and was very pronounced on the matter. The ministry is also in charge of national cohesion and this is where I am turning my focus. This country has not healed, we are close to the election and we have done very little,” he emphasized.

Wamalwa, who hails from western Kenya and is a brother to the later former vice president Michael Wamalwa Kijana, is part of a political alliance called G7, which groups him alongside Kenyatta and Ruto and have vowed to field a single presidential candidate for March 2013 polls.

The ICC in January indicted the four Kenyans for their role in the 2007/08 post election violence that claimed more than 1,000 Kenyans and displaced hundreds of thousands.