NAIROBI, Kenya, May 24 – Attorney General Githu Muigai has taken the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor head on, slamming her for maligning Kenya’s standing and using the accusations as an excuse to cover up weaknesses in her case.
A visibly irritated Muigai said Fatou Bensouda’s claim of non-cooperation from Kenya was claptrap because the government had already assisted her in 35 of her 37 requests for assistance.
He noted that assistance in the remaining two requests had not and would not be honoured by Kenya because she failed to follow the laid down legal procedures in pursuing them.
Muigai explained that the government would not cede ground on the two requests because the law requires Bensouda to file a legal suit that would compel the government to submit the details she was seeking.
“When Ocampo (former ICC Prosecutor) came to Kenya, he was not escorted by a United Nations convoy. He was invited by the Kenyan government, given diplomatic protection and then went to the Nairobi National Park and adopted a cheetah. Is that what you would call non cooperation?” he charged.
He added that the ICC Prosecutor now claims she has no new evidence to support her case against President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and former radio personality Joshua arap Sang because of lack of cooperation from Kenya.
“She says that there is no evidence now because the Kenyan government is sitting on it. That to me comes as a great shock because the court while confirming these cases said there was reasonable evidence. Where did the evidence go?” he asked.
Muigai, who was speaking at a forum discussing whether the ICC was ‘a blessing to Kenya or a curse’, later stormed out accusing the court of double standards.
He had also lashed out at the court for accusing Kenya of failing to protect witnesses.
“I asked the court where the witnesses were so that I could protect them and they turned around to me and said… we can’t tell you that,” he explained.
“I’m guilty of not protecting witnesses whose names I will not be given because they are not safe with me but I’m guilty of not protecting them in any event. How more ridiculous would that be?” he posed.
The Head of Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division at the prosecutor’s office Phakiso Mochochoko however insisted that the court would continue pressing for assistance on what he called outstanding issues.
He however failed to indicate which specific areas the Kenyan government had failed to cooperate since the Kenyan cases started.
Mochochoko simply maintained that the government stops paying lip service to the level of cooperation.
“When we talk about cooperation, we are not just responding to public pronouncements of cooperation. It must be tangible, concrete and timely for it to be meaningful,” he argued.