Tag Archives: Kenyan Politics

Conclusion of Prosecutor’s Visit to Kenya

The Prosecutor’s press conference at the conclusion of her visit was as carefully worded as her opening one. But it belied some of the hot moments of her visit. These included an unexpected apology she graciously made on behalf of her predecessor for his failure to meet with IDPs and the rather puzzling decision of the CJ to decline her request for a closed-door meeting.

Her final statement to the media echoes the one she made at the start of her visit. Again and again she returns to the themes of witnesses and victims and working jointly with Kenyans against impunity. I’m not sure her final statement even mentions the word ‘accused’ once!

The Prosecutor also pressed home the 9 January deadline for the final hand-over of evidence. She wants the state to deliver the various items of evidence her office has requested by end of November. This is because the prosecution has to review the material thoroughly before providing it to the defence per the agreed deadlines.

Lets hope there’s no ploy within the government to try and dump evidence on the Prosecutor’s office on 8 January or worse, to simply allow the deadline to pass with no reply as happened in the wrangling over the referral of the situation.

 

While the statute requires that member states comply with requests from the court for cooperation, it also seems to impose derivative duty that where a state is unable to cooperate for whatever reason, it must give reasons for this. Furthermore, in relation to other forms of cooperation (Article 93), such as provision of official records and documents, if there is a fundamental legal principle ‘of general application’ that prohibits the state from cooperating, then it is obliged to consult the court ASAP to see how to resolve the situation.

 

Under Article 93, a state cannot deny a request for assistance unless the evidence or document disclosure relates national security.

ICC Prosecutor touches down

Today the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, was in Nairobi. She’ll be here for the next week, meeting with a mixed bag of people and groups, from judicial officers to security personnel; from president to pauper; from IDPs to IDP-makers  Politicians.

Reading her statement to the media this afternoon, one can sense the caution with which the court treads in these cases. Constant themes include ‘respect’ and ‘listening’. But hidden beneath this soft tone of humility were some sharp rebukes The statement mentions efforts to interfere with witnesses and evidence. There’s a pointed reference here to delays in the government processing requests for information.

The implication for me is that for all the courtesy, this is not a meet and greet trip. Rather I see it as an effort to sustain pressure on the Kenya government whose attitude to the court can at best be summed up as neutral. There is genuine worry at the court about the level of cooperation to be expected from the state as the cases gather momentum. Of course the government is careful to say all the right things in public.

Another pointed reference: “The ICC judicial process will also take its own course irrespective of the political choices that the people of Kenya make.” In case you missed it, that was telling the accused to expect to be at the Hague in April, whether or not they are in the next government.
Her full statement to the media is available here.

Following the Hague trials of 4 Kenyans to the end. A blog by Archie Nyarango

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