31 July 2013

Kenya: Uhuru - I Have a Right to Secret Court Session

Nairobi — President Uhuru Kenyatta now says that he filed a case against mobile service providers Safaricom and Airtel to protect his interests as relates to the forthcoming trials at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Head of State said he had a right to request for an in-camera session over the issue as he worked to have his name cleared at the Hague-based court, and that civil society leaders who were accusing him of using the legal channel to hide the truth were acting in bad faith.

In a statement sent to newsrooms on Tuesday night and signed by State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu, Kenyatta added that the petitions were part of his defence preparations.

The president was reacting to an article by the Executive Director of International Centre for Policy and Conflict Ndung'u Wainaina in which he (Kenyatta) is accused of using the petitions to propel propaganda.

"The constitutional petition filed in the High Court of Kenya by President Kenyatta's lawyers is part of such preparation and the judge who heard the petitions in camera was within the law," read the State House statement.

"I am sure Ndung'u Wainaina would want a sound defence if he were charged for any offence."

Reports in sections of the media had suggested that the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda got private mobile data from the two operators as part of her evidence.

Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Shollei also explained that the session had to be held in private to protect potential ICC witnesses and prevent the ICC judicial process from being derailed.

"The Constitutional and Human Rights Division like any other Court has at times heard matters in-camera as dictated by the interests of justice," explained Shollei.

"Interests of justice require the courts to consider particularly the security of the witnesses and the integrity of related proceedings."

In the article, Wainaina also accused Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto of pretending to take a high moral ground despite facing accusations of committing crimes against humanity at the ICC.

Wainaina, who has always been very vocal about the cases at the ICC and his support for the process, has at the same time threatened to take legal action to challenge the outcome of Kenyatta's petition against Safaricom and Airtel.

"International Criminal Court indictees Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto continue pretending to take high moral ground despite having been put on trial for crimes against humanity by the judges at the ICC after rigorous, open and transparent judicial proceedings," said Wainaina.

Ruto has in the past accused civil society groups of working round the clock to 'cook' evidence against him at the court.

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