As a victim of Kenya’s post election violence in 2008, I have to submit that I am saddened to learn that Morris Anyah has reportedly quit his position as the lawyer representing 229 Kenyan victims at the International Criminal Court at the Hague amid protest over the trial judges’ decision to limit victim representation at the trial.
The ICC has since formally invited Expressions of Interest for Common legal representatives for victims in the Kenya cases.
Anyah impressed Kenyans who were following the hearings on TV with his solid and eloquent court-room performance during The Prosecutor v. Francis Karimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mohammed Hussein Ali at the pre-trial hearings. Anyah meticulously cross-examined the accussed and their witnesses, and was clearly heads and shoulders above reputable lawyers representing the accused .
The victims in the case against Uhuru Kenyatta and Francis Muthaura are represented by Morris Anyah while those in the case against William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang are represented by Ms Sureta Chana, both of whom were given the go-ahead to continue their representation by the Appeals Chamber in April 2012 following some internal budgetary constraints. Benard Orinda Ndege, who lost 11 family members in an arson attack in Naivasha during the post-election violence, and Maurice Opondo, who lost his hands in Juja, had expressed their confidence in being represented by Anyah and had petitioned the ICC to retain him as their lawyer.
It is not the first time Anyah is being reported as having quit his position. In March this year, it was reported in sections of Kenyan press that Anyah was no longer the victims lawyer a claim that was later found to be incorrect.
In October last year, Anyah generated a lot of political heat locally when he was accused of having visited Kenya and met Lands Minister James Orengo and Miguna Miguna at the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi. PNU activists were unhappy with Anyah for arranging clandestine meetings with ODM counterparts behind their backs.
Morris Anyah is a Nigeria-American trial lawyer with an international reputation for excellence. He specializes in complex criminal cases and has served as trial or appeals counsel in several high-profile cases before international and national courts.Anyah was earlier this year appointed as Assigned Appeals Counsel to conduct the appeal of convicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor. Mr. Anyah has served as co-counsel on the Taylor Defence team since 2007.