NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 11 – International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda wants the Government of Kenya to ensure Paul Gicheru, Philip Bett and Journalist Walter Barasa surrender to the court in The Hague to face charges of witness interference.
Kenya being a signatory of the Rome Statute, she said, is obliged to arrest them and hand them over to the ICC.
“I trust that the Kenyan authorities will fulfil their obligations under the Rome Statute to ensure the surrender of all three suspects to the custody of the court so that their guilt or innocence on the charges against them may be determined in a court of law,” she said.
She complained that her work during the Kenyan case was seriously hampered by intrigues of witness interference which caused her to lose key witnesses while others diverged from their prior statements.
“It has been a long and difficult road since 31 March 2010, when the office first began its investigations in Kenya. We have faced serious obstacles in our endeavour to unveil the truth, and to hold to account those most responsible for atrocity crimes committed against innocent Kenyans during the 2007-2008 post-election violence.”
Bensouda said her office is still conducting further investigations to expose and take action against individuals interfering with the process of justice at the ICC.
On Thursday, she notified the chamber that she had closed her case against Deputy President William Ruto and Journalist Joshua arap Sang.
Though her case came to a close, a series of documents released by the court on Thursday emphasised concerns of the court and the prosecution over witness intimidation and bribery.
It also stood out as a strong basis she will heavily rely on to prove charges against Ruto and Sang.
Bensouda in her application while seeking a warrant of arrest against Gicheru, Bett and Barasa demonstrated that they were involved in a scheme designed to contact ICC witnesses, bribe them and convince them to withdraw or recant their evidence.
She used the allegations against the three to base her request to be allowed to use prior recorded statements of five witnesses who recanted.
The judges at the Trial Chamber granted her the application and according to Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji in his partial concurrence said, even without applying the amended Rule 68, there were other ways of admitting prior recorded statements.
The attention has shifted to the Appeals Chamber which will either confirm the decision of the Trial Chamber V (a) or restrain the prosecution from using prior recorded statements of the five witnesses.
Bensouda on Thursday requested that the Appeals Chamber rule on admissibility of the prior recorded statements before the case moves to the defence phase.