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Bensouda told to follow law on three Kenyans accused of witness interference

THE HAGUE TRIAL
By Standard Team | April 8th 2016

The Government will only hand over three Kenyans to the ICC once legal procedures are concluded.

This came two days after crimes against humanity charges against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang’ were dropped.

The Hague-based court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Wednesday accused the Government of failure to cooperate with the International Criminal Court in facilitating the transfer of Walter Barasa, Paul Gicheru and Philip Bett, whom she accuses of obstructing justice.

Government spokesman Eric Kiraithe yesterday said due process, as provided for by international law and the Kenyan Constitution, must be followed before their extradition.

The rules of natural justice must also apply before the three accused are handed over to the ICC, he added.

Ms Bensouda wants to three to answer to charges of tampering with witnesses.

“The question of just picking so-and-so and handing over to so-and-so does not arise. There are judicial procedures that must be met before they are sent to the ICC,” said Mr Kiraithe.

He said the extradition of suspects involves a long process that had begun in the courts and that the Government cannot push the process.

Yesterday, Mr Barasa said he was not worried about being arrested by the ICC.

He said the ICC Prosecutor should respect the local judicial process and pointed out that he has a pending court case challenging the arrest warrant issued by the ICC.

“Because she has failed in her duty after the collapse of Mr Ruto and Mr Sang’s case, Bensouda is now looking for small fish to justify her work,” said Barasa.

Barasa wondered why he had been accused of interfering with witnesses yet he only knew a few of the 26 presented.

He said he never interfered with any court process and was only involved on issues of peace and reconciliation with the few he interacted with.

He has been provided with a Government bodyguard. “I have never been involved in any criminal cases,” he said.

He said despite the ICC warrant, he had no intention of running away because he was innocent.

Barasa appealed to the Government to intervene and bring to an end the case, saying it was because of the ICC tribulations that he lost his mother.

Separately, President Uhuru Kenyatta expressed gratitude to the African Union for standing in solidarity with Kenya as the country battled the ICC cases.

He told African ambassadors accredited to Germany during a meeting in Berlin on Wednesday evening that it was through the support of friendly countries that the ICC cases collapsed.

“The strong position taken by the African Union and its member states enabled us to succeed. Kenya will continue partnering with other countries in the continent to achieve Africa’s agenda,” he said.

And in an earlier interview with FRANCE24 TV, Uhuru reiterated the call for African States to pull out of the ICC unless it reformed.

He insisted the ICC was being “pushed to follow specific cases”.

“Unless this organisation is reformed to be able to focus itself on what it is supposed to be doing in a fair and balanced manner, we in Kenya, and we as Africans will pull out because we cannot have a court that is pursuing agendas other than that it was legally constituted to do,” Uhuru said.

In Nairobi, Sang’ claimed he was fixed by some members of the Party of National Unity, adding that Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria had since apologised.

“Just as my friend Mr Kuria said, I was fixed for reasons I don’t know. But Kuria apologised and I have forgiven him. I want to take this opportunity to ask others to come out,” he said.

Contacted, Kuria said he does not regret coming out to admit he was part of the group of politicians who procured witnesses for the Waki and Kriegler commissions.

“I am really proud, I am over the moon that they have been released. I am also very proud that my action, at a time when everyone else was engaged in a conspiracy of silence is what helped the judges to reach that decision,” said Kuria.

Sang’ said the Prosecutor did not present a single recording to support the claims.

Reporting by Cyrus Ombati, Luke Anami and Peter Ochieng

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