Capital FM (Nairobi)

1 December 2012

Kenya: ICC Refuses to Compensate Kenyan Blogger

Nairobi — The International Criminal Court (ICC) has rejected blogger Dennis Itumbi's plea for compensation following his arrest in March this year, over accusations that he hacked into the Court's e-mails.

Itumbi filed his application in September accusing the ICC of wrongly instigating his arrest saying the Court should compensate him.

The Hague-based Court however threw out the application with the Trial Chamber V Judges arguing that the Court, particularly the Office of the Prosecutor, did not request Kenyan authorities to detain him and that he should take his demands to the Kenyan government.

"The Chamber should review the Applicant's arrest or detention only if it is first established that the arrest was attributable to or effectuated at the request of the Court or, more particularly, the Prosecution," read a statement, on the Court's website, signed by Judges Kuniko Ozaki, Christine Van den Wyngaert and Chile Eboe-Osuji.

Although Itumbi had also asked the ICC to determine whether or not his arrest was illegal, the Court maintained that the matter should be referred to Kenya's judicial systems.

Itumbi had also accused the ICC of breaching several Sections of Article 70 the Rome Statute in the manner in which it handled his arrest.

The Court also argued that the legality surrounding Itumbi's arrest was not within its jurisdiction.

"For the foregoing reasons, the Chamber hereby rejects the application," read the Chamber's decision.

The Court also took issue with the manner in which the blogger had filed his application saying it was not clear.

Itumbi was arrested and detained at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) where he was allegedly questioned on his knowledge of the ICC witnesses. He later accused the CID of harassment claiming that they denied him access to his lawyer.

He also claimed that the officers who questioned him wanted to find out if he had any interests in the ICC.

"As a preliminary matter, the submissions of the Applicant themselves do not even clarify if he was arrested that is taken into custody for suspicion of committing a crime or detained for questioning," said the statement.

"But regardless of the nature of Kenya's restrictions on his liberty, the Applicant's request for relief from this Court must fail."

Itumbi also argued, at the time, that he was released from custody without being taken to Court for review of the legality of his detention.

"At no stage was the applicant presented with a judicial warrant authorising his arrest or the subsequent search and seizure executed on his domestic premises. Only at the conclusion of his interrogation and shortly before his release, was the applicant presented with a document which recorded that he had been arrested on suspicion of having obtained illegal access to confidential information in contravention of the Kenyan Communications Amendment Act (2008)," argued Itumbi's lawyer.

He had also accused the Court of "giving false testimony, presenting evidence that the party knows is false or forged, corruptly influencing a witness, obstructing or interfering with the attendance or testimony of a witness and retaliating against a witness for giving testimony or destroying, tampering with or interfering with the collection of evidence."

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