Bensouda slams Kenyans for politicising ICC process

October 27, 2012 12:26 pm
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Bensouda was troubled by perceptions that the prosecution has no evidence but relied on reports done by human rights organisations and the Waki Commission/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 27 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Friday evening left the country but said she was saddened by Kenyans’ failure to alienate the ICC process from the country’s politics.

Speaking with community radio stations under the umbrella of Internews in Eldoret, the ICC Prosecutor said it was unfortunate that some Kenyans have made it difficult to separate the trials as a judicial process intended to give victims justice and the accused persons a fair hearing.

“Unfortunately, the ICC process still continues to be linked to the political process. I have explained several times this has to be separated… that there is no political responsibility before the ICC. But despite of all that it keeps coming up. The communities I have visited are finding it difficult to separate the two,” she protested.

Bensouda, who reminded Kenyans that the accused persons are presumed innocent until the trial judges find them guilty, insisted that it is critical for Kenyans to completely keep politics out of the process to give justice a chance.

The prosecutor received a number of complaints during her interactions with victims in Nakuru and Eldoret. The complainants claimed that ICC was interfering with Kenyan politics on the basis that Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto who are facing charges at The Hague are presidential candidates and the their trial had been set at the time the country is facing an election.

She was also troubled by perceptions that the prosecution has no evidence but relied on reports done by human rights organisations and the Waki Commission.

She said it was unfortunate that the prosecution was being judged wrongly without viewing the process of the cases, explaining that confirmation of charges hearings has a level of the amount and type of evidence required.

“The ICC collects evidence from anywhere, even from commissions. But the court has to do independent investigations. I cannot rely on reports and say this is the evidence we have – that is not investigating. We use reports to make the evidence stronger. People keep on saying that we got it from reports, this is not the case,” she explained.

“Unfortunately, the ICC process still continues to be linked to the political process. I have explained several times this has to be separated… that there is no political responsibility before the ICC. But despite of all that it keeps coming up. The communities I have visited are finding it difficult to separate the two,” she protested.

Bensouda who listened to the experiences and views of the victims of the post-election violence also urged Kenyans as they go on with discussions about ICC, not to forget the thousands of victims who died, lost their loved ones, got injuries and had their property destroyed.

She emphasised that it was important for Kenya not to lose focus that the victims needed closure by finding out the truth and seeing that those that financed and organised the attacks face justice.

As she wrapped her five-day visit in Kenya, Bensouda also she was dissatisfied with the way sections of the media reported and quoted some of her utterances out of context.

“I held my first press conference to explain why I was in the country. I do not understand why the Kenyan media fabricated stories and manipulated. I have not threatened Kenya. I don’t see why I should threaten the Kenyan government. That responsibility we have to bear in mind for the sake of our contribution as journalists to the community and for the sake of reconciliation and ensuring that these crimes do not get inflamed,” she asserted.

Bensouda left for The Hague, Netherlands on Friday night in high spirits after achieving her mission of meeting victims and also getting promises from the government that required information will be delivered by the time the prosecution closes the submission of disclosing incriminating evidence on January 9, 2013.

Two other Kenyans – former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and one time radio personality Joshua arap Sang – are facing crimes against humanity together with Kenyatta and Ruto.

Their trial has been set in April 2013 a few weeks after Kenya holds the March 2013 General Election.

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