25 October 2012

Kenya: ICC Prosecutor Urges Kenya Government to Release Evidence

Nairobi — International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda Thursday renewed calls for the government of Kenya to release evidence that would help her office prosecute four top Kenyans charged with crimes against humanity.

Bensouda was speaking at a press conference in Nairobi on her first official visit to Kenya, which started Monday.

Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Member of Parliament William Ruto, former head of civil service Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua Sang face crimes against humanity charges at the ICC in connection with 2007-2008 post-election violence. Kenyatta and Ruto are presidential candidates for the March elections. ICC judges have set the start of trials for April next year.

Bensouda said she met President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Tuesday and "conveyed my office's concerns regarding a number of delays in the Government's response to a number of OTP (Office of the Prosecutor) requests related to our investigations". She said they had "assured me of their willingness to ensure timely and effective execution of the pending requests".

As well as requests relating to evidence, she said the government was yet to release documents that would assist the ICC identify money, property and other assets of the four accused. Under the Rome Statute of the ICC, the government has an obligation to help the ICC Prosecutor, upon request, to identify, trace, and freeze or seize assets of the accused. In the event that any of the four are found guilty, the Court can seize their money, properties, and assets and transfer them to the ICC Trust Fund set up to aid victims of the crimes for which they are convicted.

Earlier in Nakuru, Bensouda told displaced people that justice will prevail. "You may not see me here every time, but ICC people are here working. We are trying as best as we can to ensure there is justice. Impunity should not reign in Kenya," she said.

The post-election violence after presidential elections in December 2007 left more than 1,000 dead and many more displaced.

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