, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – Kenyan Journalist Dennis Itumbi has initiated a case in which he is seeking compensation from the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged wrongful arrest in March this year.
Itumbi, through lawyer Nicholas Kaufman, on Friday wrote to the ICC Pre-trial chamber to make a finding that he was detained illegally at the instigation of the ICC Prosecutor’s office.
“As a preliminary step to requesting compensation under article 85(1) of the Rome Statute, Mr Dennis ole Itumbi hereby requests that the learned Pre-Trial Chamber rule on the legality of his arrest in the context of an investigation instigated on the initiative of the Office of the Prosecutor or, alternatively, in connection with proceedings at the ICC,” the letter which is on ICC website indicates.
Itumbi argued that he was arrested and harassed by Kenyan police on March 22 on claims that he hacked ICC emails.
He said that he was detained at the Criminal Investigations Department headquarters without any access to a lawyer and interrogated by three detectives who claimed he had interest in the ICC process.
After the detention, he said he was released from custody without being taken before court for review of the legality or the conditions of his detention.
“At no stage was the applicant presented with a judicial warrant authorising his arrest or the subsequent search and seizure executed on his domestic premises. Only at the conclusion of his interrogation and shortly before his release, was the applicant presented with a document which recorded that he had been arrested on suspicion of having obtained illegal access to confidential information in contravention of the Kenyan Communications Amendment Act (2008),” Itumbi’s lawyer claimed.
He has explained to the court that police asked him if he knew any of the ICC witnesses, if he had hacked the ICC website and if he possessed any ICC material blaming the court for his mishandling by the Kenyan police.
Itumbi said the court has breached several sections of article 70 the Rome Statute in the manner in which it handled his arrest.
He accused the court of “giving false testimony, presenting evidence that the party knows is false or forged, corruptly influencing a witness, obstructing or interfering with the attendance or testimony of a witness and retaliating against a witness for giving testimony or destroying, tampering with or interfering with the collection of evidence.”
He further accused the court of, “retaliating against an official of the court on account of duties performed by that or another official and soliciting or accepting a bribe as an official of the court in connection with his or her official duties and impeding, intimidating or corruptly influencing an official of the court for the purpose of forcing or persuading the official not to perform, or to perform improperly, his or her duties.”