Kenya denies obstructing case against president

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THE HAGUE — Kenya’s most senior government lawyer rejected claims on Thursday it was obstructing the International Criminal Court’s investigation into crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Prosecutors say Kenya’s government has hindered access to bank and telephone records which they consider essential to secure a conviction on charges that Kenyatta orchestrated violence that swept Kenya after elections in 2007.

The case is a test of the authority and credibility of the court, which has seen several cases collapse and secured just one conviction in 11 years.

It has also driven a wedge between the court’s Western backers and African allies of Kenya, many of which launched a diplomatic push to have Kenyatta’s trial scrapped or deferred following his election as president last year.

Kenyatta, who is head both of state and government, denies the charges.

Speaking at a meeting to decide whether Kenya is in breach of its obligation to co-operate with the court, Kenya’s attorney-general Githu Muigai said prosecutors’ requests for access to Kenyatta’s bank records had not been correctly filed. That left Kenya with no choice, but to refuse.

“Prosecutors cannot parade in the garments of the court, invoking powers they do not have,” Muigai told the court.

Kenya could only breach Kenyatta’s privacy by opening up his bank records if prosecutors first obtained an order from judges compelling the government to do so, he said.

Last week, prosecutors told the court access to Kenyatta’s bank records were their last best hope of successfully prosecuting the politician in the face of “pure obstructionism” by the Kenyan government.

They said bank records would allow them to see if he had indirectly paid large sums of money to those who carried out the violence, in which 1 200 people died and thousands were driven from their homes.

In court filings, they have spoken of a “climate of fear” that has deterred witnesses from testifying against Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s founding father. His trial has been postponed four times as prosecutors sought to shore up their case.

Speaking for the prosecution, lawyer Ben Gumpert said Kenya’s interpretation of the law appeared to have been made up on the spur of the moment.

“This request was made 22 months ago,” he said. “The Kenyan government kept saying: ‘Yes, yes, we’re getting round to it,’ until recently . . . Because the argument advanced today hadn’t yet occurred to them.”

While lobbying hard in diplomatic forums against the charges, Kenyatta has obeyed all summons to attend the court and followed other instructions made by it.
The court has also charged his deputy and former rival William Ruto in a similar, but separate case. Both men are vigorously contesting the charges they face, and have hired prominent London human rights lawyers to defend them.

While Western powers led the push to establish the court and are keen to support it, they are also anxious to maintain relations with Kenya, seen as a key ally in the battle against militant Islamism in neighbouring Somalia. — Reuters

20 COMMENTS

  1. African leaders must lead from the front.It is naive to have a body that sing from the same pages with leaders whose hands are stained with blood.Who is accused must respect the court,attend and let the process unfold whilst cooperating.This thing of anti west when you know you have failed to lead your ppe doesnt work.Kenyatta Sir do the honourable and attend the court to prove that you are innocent

  2. @nhamo .I thought it has been stated quite clearly in the article that Kenyatta was attending the court as summoned.
    “Kenyatta has obeyed all summons to attend the
    court and followed other instructions made by it.”

    The problem I have with prosecution is why go ahead and indict someone for a purported crime committed pasina evidence and then after arresting you start looking for evindence. it shows kuti this criminal court also has a hidden agenda no wonder most of its cases are against African leaders who the western govments do not like.

  3. @facts. You have nailed it right on the head. Why drag someone to court when you don’t have incriminating evidence that warrant conviction.

  4. @ facts, it goes beyond that. The Hague has brought up serious charges against an African head of state without evidence, it now expects the accused African head of state to produce the evidence needed to make the charges stick. The Hague is saying, “we accuse you of a crime against humanity, therefore it is up to you to produce the evidence that we can use to convict you and lock you up! Meanwhile, there is a tonne of evidence to convict Bush and Blair of crimes against humanity, for disregarding a UN resolution not to strike Iraq without cause and for invading a sovereign nation based on lies because The Hague is racist and evil.

    • You found the WMDs that everyone failed to locate in iraq, or something? To the rest of the world, iraq was invaded for WMDs not because it invaded a neighbour.

  5. You r all wrong, Kenyatta case had all the evidence neeeded till he became president by hook and crook and witnesses started withdrawing from testifying. Now tell me all this is in isolation and not related to him being at the helm of gvt. Now also tell me his alliance with Ruto has nothing to do with the ICC. Only naive people think this guy is innocent!

    • I don’t think he is innocent at all, I also don’t think he is guilty just because someone at the Hague said so in anger because the puppet Odinga lost the election. Odinga is as much a suspect as Ruto and Kenyatta but the Hague could not prosecute one of their own projects, could they?

  6. If Kenyatta walks free, found not guilty, as a continent we should rightfully call ourselves ‘The Dark Continent’ for despite all the light we still didn’t see what happened in Kenya because we are all in the dark.

  7. ….If Kenyatta walks free, found not guilty, as a continent we should rightfully call ourselves ‘The Dark Continent’ for despite all the light we still didn’t see what happened in Kenya because we are all in the dark.

    • The only way we will know the truth is when selective justice is abandoned; investigate all or investigate none. Why is it the West’s preferred politicians are neither investigated nor accused? The violence started when supporters of Odinga disputed Kibaki’s victory, which led to attacks on Kikuyus, it all went downhill from there. Why was the one person at the centre of the storm not on Ocampo’s original list?

  8. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ICC PROSECUTORS ASKING FOR PHONE AND BANK RECORDS,APPARENTLY THE REQUEST WAS MADE 22MONTH AGO WELL BEFORE HE WAS PRESIDENT,HE SHOULD PROVIDE THE RECORDS TO CLEAR HIS NAME.ICC HAS ITS FLAWS BUT BEAR IN MIND THAT AFRICA HAS MORE HUMAN BUTCHER PRESIDENTS THAN ANY OTHER CONTINENT,YES BUSH AND BLAIR SHOULD BE THERE BUT THAT SHOULD NOT ABSOLVE THE OTHER GUYS LIKE KENYATTA.AND 4 THE RECORD AMERICA DID NOT RATIFY THE CHARTER ESTABLISHING ICC,BRITAIN AND MOST AFRICAN COUNTRIES INCLUDING KENYA AND ZIMBABWE DID RATIFY AS KENYA IS UNDER OBLIGATION TO FULLY CORPORATE.IF AFRICAN PRESIDENTS HAVE ISSUES WITH INSTITUTIONAL RACISM THEY SHOULD SPEAK VEHEMENTLY WITH ONE VOICE BUT SHOULD STOP VIOLENCE AND INJUSTICE AGAINST THEIR CITIZENS.A LOT OF THEM SHOULD REMEMBER THEY DONT OWN THE COUNTRIES THEY A MISRULING BUT ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE RESPECTIVE NATIONS.KENYATTA ENDA KUICC KUNO VEPARLIAMENT WANTED TO PROBE VIOLENCE MA MPS EMUSANGANO AKARAMBA MAKAFANANA,ICC HUYAI MUTORE ANA KENYATTA VEKUNO.

    • Imagine this scenario, you are in a position of power in your local area and I have a position of hatchet man for a bigger boss with interests in your local area. I also have the resources to manufacture indictments and manipulate evidence with the agenda to remove you from power so a puppet of the bigger boss takes over. Would you be so naive to surrender to me access to your private information that I can cook up and use against you, believing that the truth will set you free? Africans nations were unwise to be persuaded to be signatories to the ICC when other non African states declined.

  9. I smell a rat. At the same time the problem lies with us africans. We want to please these white racists first we ratified the conversion of children rights and america refused secondly we did it again on this ICC THING. TO TELL YU THE TRUTH IN Africa the law seem to be for the poor and internationally it may seem is for the blacks(africans). Again we go out there to seek help from prominent lawyers from britain. Its kind of a joke. We will sink. Its time to stand agaist these guys. Why trying african leaders only. Kenya wake up. Do not let your president down. Who is clean clinton, bush,blair. Only God will judge us fairly.

  10. I smell a rat. At the same time the problem lies with us africans. We want to please these white racists first we ratified the conversion of children rights and america refused secondly we did it again on this ICC THING. TO TELL YU THE TRUTH IN Africa the law seem to be for the poor and internationally it may seem is for the blacks(africans). Again we go out there to seek help from prominent lawyers from britain. Its kind of a joke. We will sink. Its time to stand agaist these guys. Why trying african leaders only. Kenya wake up. Do not let your president down. Who is clean clinton, bush,blair. Only God will judge us fairly. Thank you.

  11. I find it disheartening kuti vanhu defend a murderous pres for whatever reason. Sure what’s wrong w us Africans? A lot of ppl died cos power hungry officials bt still u defend them. Some ar pointing to e excesses of Blair n Bush bt their moral blame worthiness is better cos they never killed their own. When WMD when not found Blair apologized n resigned manje vedu ava vanotouraya vavo chaivo

  12. before I looked at the receipt four $4872 , I have faith that…my… father in law was like they say actualy bringing in money part-time from their laptop. . there sisters neighbour had bean doing this for only about eighteen months and just took care of the loans on their villa and got Honda NSX . find out this here,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, http://WWW.Work72.COM

  13. He must go and argue his case, plead his innocence and return home. He should not think that he is immune and kill wantnly that bloody Masai.

  14. He must go and argue his case, plead his innocence and return home. He should not think that he is immune and kill wantonly that bloody Masai.

  15. Scotv u are silly.U think sitting govements have a right to kill and because its Africa they are not suppose to be prosecuted.vakauraiwa havana basa.U supported zhanu pf whilst MDC telling u they are thieves.Continue living in denial,boot leaking zhanu thugs

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