Kenyan government denies undermining ICC

BY: Isaac Yeboah

FILE This picture taken on September 5, 2011 shows the International Criminal Court's building in The Hague. Attorney General Githu Muigai has denied that the government was blocking the work of ICC investigators.  AFPAttorney General Githu Muigai on Monday denied that the administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta was blocking the work of International Criminal Court investigators.

Prof Muigai told the court that the prosecutor, Ms Fatou Bensouda, was “peddling unsupported claims based on paranoia, misunderstandings or false conclusions” in her complaint to the court that the government was frustrating her work of collecting evidence and conducting investigations within Kenya.

In a six-page response to the Trial Chamber V, Prof Muigai said the government has not interfered with witnesses.

The AG told the court, which will be handling the cases against Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang, that the Kenyan court has a Witness Protection Agency that ensures their “safe passage when called upon to do so”.

Prof Muigai also said the Executive will not appeal against an injunction against the government on the interviewing of five provincial commissioners and five police officers whose testimony, the ICC believes, is key.

“Given that the matter is before the Kenyan courts, the Kenyan Constitution provides for the separation of powers and provides that the judiciary shall be independent and shall be subject only to this Constitution and the law and shall not be subject to the control or direction of any person or authority,” said Prof Muigai in the letter dated June 10.

Ms Bensouda had complained that her office had written to Kenya ten times and even sent its investigators five times to try and get the interviews done but so far nothing much had come out of it.

Prof Muigai also denied that the government had given classified information to the defence team of former Head of Civil Service, Mr Francis Muthaura. The AG said, Mr Muthaura, who's charges have since been dropped, had accessed the documents “directly and not through official government channels.”

The AG added that the minutes of the National Security Advisory Committee contained key information about national security issues, but the government had not even requested that the material be redacted before it is given to the prosecutor, and neither had it asked that the material be expunged from the court records.

But the AG admitted that Ms Bensouda was right about some missing documents because there were “filing problems” that had made it difficult to trace the documents.

“The government continues to encourage the Judiciary to expedite the location of the missing documents and the same shall be conveyed to the Prosecution should they become available,” said Prof Muigai in the letter.

He added that whenever the ICC officers were in Kenya, they were always given security, allowed access to all parts of the country and that the government never interfered with their activities. Ms Bensouda had told the court that ICC officials in the country were under constant government surveillance.

Source: Daily Nation