Bensouda to seek court’s help if Kenya withholds data

October 25, 2012 4:26 pm
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda addresses the press in Nairobi on Thursday/CFM

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 25 – International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has expressed optimism that the Kenyan government will supply her office with crucial information that it requires before the deadline of submitting evidence to the court in January next year.

Addressing a press conference after visiting Internally Displaced Persons in Nakuru, she revealed that she was given assurances that the information will be submitted on time during a meeting with President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

“I conveyed concerns regarding delays in the government’s response to a number of OTP (Office of the Prosecutor) requests related to our investigations. They assured me of their willingness to ensure timely and effective execution of the pending requests and instructed the Attorney General and the Cabinet Sub-Committee (on the ICC) to facilitate expeditious responses to my office’s requests,” she said.

Despite being sure she will get the information, she said she may be forced to file an application before judges if Kenya fails to cooperate by releasing information required by investigators.

Bensouda made it clear that the information was critical in delivering justice to the victims and also giving the accused persons a fair trial.

In regard to a possible presidential runoff, Bensouda said the court can only agree to change the trial dates depending on whether any of the accused – two of whom are interested in the top seat – make an application.

“It will depend on the merits of the request like any other applications by parties and judges will always ask for the other parties to comment on that,” she said.

Kenya’s Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto who are seeking the presidency are among four suspects facing trial at The Hague.

The two others are former Civil Service chief Francis Muthaura and journalist Joshua arap Sang.

In her meeting with Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on Wednesday, Bensouda was informed that a committee was already working on a special division of the High Court to deal with lower and middle level perpetrators.

Apart from that, she was also able to raise concerns over intimidation and threats to victims and witnesses which the government pledged to deal with to ensure their safety.

Earlier on Thursday, Bensouda assured IDPs in Nakuru that their concerns, including discrediting witnesses lined up at the trial, will be passed over to the judges hearing the Kenyan cases.

The ICC Prosecutor is on Friday expected to tour Kiambaa in Eldoret where people were burnt alive in a church during the 2008 post election violence before winding up her five-day visit to Kenya.


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