NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 19 – The International Criminal Court says Kenya might be punished by the Assembly of State Parties if it fails to hand over three suspects wanted in The Hague on charges of tampering with witnesses.
According to ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah, Kenya must cooperate with the court despite President Uhuru Kenyatta’s declaration that no Kenyan will ever again go to The Hague.
Abdallah pointed out in an interview with Citizen TV that from a legal perspective, Kenya is a State Party to the ICC Rome Statute and has the legal obligation to fully cooperate with the ICC including for the implementation of arrest warrants.
“The ICC is aware of the news reporting an alleged statement by the President of Kenya declaring that Kenya will not cooperate with the ICC in the future with relation to the implementation of three pending arrest warrants for Mr Barasa, Mr Gicheru and Mr Bett,” he said.
The Spokesman said that the Court has not received any official information from the Kenyan government indicating its intention to stop cooperating.
He underscored the need for the allegations to be properly adjudicated in a judicial process.
“The ICC has not received any challenge to the admissibility of the cases against the three individuals charged with offences against the administration of justice consisting in corruptly influencing or attempting to corruptly influence three ICC witnesses in the context of the cases arising from the investigations in the Kenya post-elections violence.”
He stated that in case of non-cooperation, the legal procedure before the ICC is for the Judges to make a finding of non-compliance and to refer it to the Assembly of States Parties to take any measure it deems appropriate.
During the thanks giving service at the Afraha stadium in Nakuru on Saturday, President Kenyatta vowed that no Kenyan will ever again face trial at the ICC over the post election violence.
The Head of State declared that the country had closed the chapter on the post election violence.
His statement followed the decision of the Hague based court to issue arrest warrants against three Kenyans accused of witness interference.
He pointed out that the country’s judicial system would deal with the three Kenyans wanted by ICC over claims of witness tampering
President Kenyatta’s case was terminated by ICC judges after prosecutors had listed him as among those who bore the greatest responsibility to the violence that left 1,300 people dead and half a million more displaced.
Former journalist Walter Barasa, lawyer Paul Gicheru and Phillip Bett are wanted by the ICC for alleged witness interference in the cases against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang before they cases were terminated on April 5.