, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 4 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) Trial Chamber V has directed the Office of the Prosecutor to give the Kenyan government adequate notice while requesting for information meant to aid its case.
Trial Chamber V was responding to concerns raised by Kenya, following several accusations by Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda alleging that it was frustrating her efforts to access information for her case.
Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, Judge Olga Herrera and Judge Robert Fremr said that the prosecution must formally notify the Kenyan government of all relevant filings in a timely manner.
The Chamber V Judges added that Kenya would get an opportunity to defend itself whenever the prosecution requested a relief claiming that Kenya was to blame.
“Notwithstanding the above, the chamber agrees with the Kenyan Government that in circumstances where allegations of non-cooperation are relied upon in support of a request for relief, hearing from the Kenyan Government may be of benefit to the chamber’s determination of the request and to its overall duty, under Article 64(2) of the Statute, to ensure a fair and expeditious trial,” explained the judges.
The prosecutor had also accused Kenya of disclosing the volume of its request for assistance saying that the country had breached Article 87(3) of the Rome Statute.
Kenya subsequently apologised for the disclosure saying there will be no repeat.
“In light of the apology and assurance provided by the Kenyan Government, the prosecution’s request for a caution can be considered moot and need not be ruled upon by the chamber,” noted the judges.
In May this year, Attorney General Githu Muigai slammed the ICC Prosecutor accusing her of maligning the country’s name and using it as an excuse to cover the weaknesses in her case.
Muigai, who was at the time speaking at a forum discussing whether the ICC was a blessing to Kenya or a curse, said Bensouda’s claims of non-cooperation were frivolous 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 been honored by Kenya because she had 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,” he retorted.
“Is that what you would call non cooperation?” he asked.