PHOTO | VINCENT JANNINK | FILE This picture taken on September 5, 2011 shows the International Criminal Court's building in The Hague. The ICC chief prosecutor Ms Fatou Bensouda has threatened to report Kenya to the UN Security Council if the country does not cooperate with her office. AFP
By BERNARD NAMUNANE email@example.com AND ALPHONCE SHIUNDU firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Tuesday, June 11 2013 at 21:27
The International Criminal Court chief prosecutor has threatened to report Kenya to the UN Security Council if the country does not cooperate with her office.
Ms Fatou Bensouda also claims that Attorney General Githu Muigai has blocked her team from collecting evidence and accessing witnesses in a conflict that may throw a cloud over the future of the cases facing President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, Mr William Ruto.
But the government, through Prof Muigai, accuses Ms Bensouda of “peddling unsupported claims based on paranoia, misunderstandings or false conclusions” in her complaints to the Trial Chamber while stating that Kenya is playing its role in the cases.
The exchanges are contained in two filings with the Trial Chamber judges on Monday by the ICC prosecutor and Prof Muigai regarding the government’s cooperation with investigations into crimes against humanity on whose basis charges have been brought against President Kenyatta, Mr Ruto and former radio broadcaster Joshua arap Sang.
Ms Bensouda declares that there are more than six pending requests in terms of documentary evidence and access to witness which the government has either denied (the ICC) access or outrightly delayed in acting.
Should it fail to meet the ICC deadlines, she warned, she would not hesitate to seek assistance from the UN Security Council as provide for under Article 87(7) of the Rome Statute. The article allows the ICC to report state party which has refused to cooperate.
Ms Bensouda submits that the government has declined to fully cooperate with her office in the investigations, seriously limiting her ability to prove the charges facing the three and stemming from the 2007/8 post-election violence.
“The Office of the Prosecutor has encountered serious difficulties in securing full and timely cooperation from the Government of Kenya (GoK),” she states.
Without naming names, the prosecutor charges that some senior government officials have conspired to frustrate investigations in addition to making it impossible for potential witnesses and organisations willing to work with the court to do so.
Identity of witnesses
“Some public officials in Kenya have fostered an anti-ICC climate in the country, which has had a chilling effect on the willingness of potential witnesses and partners to cooperate with the OTP,” she claims.
However, Prof Muigai, in his six-page response, denies the raft of accusations raised by the ICC prosecutor, stating that the government has fully cooperated with The Hague.
He asserts that the government has not interfered with any witnesses as claimed by the prosecutor.
“Contrary to the Prosecution’s assertion...the Kenyan Government has never interfered with the Prosecution’s witnesses, nor is it aware of the identity of the Prosecution’s witnesses,” he stated.