NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 5 – The International Criminal Court has called on the Kenyan government to arrest and avail two suspects accused of witness meddling in the trial of 2007/08 Post Election Violence cases.
This is after a third accused person, lawyer Paul Gicheru, turned himself in to Dutch police on Sunday.
According to ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, Kenya needs to facilitate the surrender of Walter Barasa and Philip Bett who alongside Gicheru, the third suspect who surrendered on Monday, are facing charges of allegedly bribing six prosecution witnesses to recant their statements.
Bensouda said, she is committed to using measures available, to the extent possible, in a bid to safeguard the integrity of the court’s proceedings.
“I call on the Kenyan authorities to fulfill their obligations under the Rome Statute to ensure the surrender of the remaining two 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,” the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC stated in a statement issued on Wednesday.
ICC judges issued a warrant of arrest against Gicheru and Bett on March 10, 2015 for offering bribes to six witnesses.
The witnesses said to have been improperly engaged were involving the ICC cases where President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and four other Kenyans were tried at the Hague.
The famous ‘Ocampo Six’ were accused of murder, deportation or forceful transfer of population, persecution, rape, and other inhumane acts during the 2007 post election violence.
This was after chaos and violence erupted in December 2007 after retired President Mwai Kibaki was announced the winner in the presidential poll, in a race he closely contested with ODM leader Raila Odinga.
The violence left thousands dead, acts of rape and sexual violence were reported and more than 600,000 were internally displaced.
The prosecutor alleged that a scheme was hatched to have witnesses withdraw as prosecution witnesses and recant their prior statements to the prosecutor, through bribery and other coercion methods.