Wednesday, August 19, 2015 6:29 am
Appeals judges at the International Criminal Court will decide today whether Kenya cooperated in the court’s collapsed case against President Uhuru Kenyatta, or failed to provide key evidence to prosecutors.
Prosecutors dropped charges of crimes against humanity against Kenyatta in December. They have maintained that they were unable to build their case because of obstruction by Kenyan authorities.
Judges in The Hague will rule on a prosecution request to declare that Kenya failed to comply with an April 2012 attempt to obtain Kenyatta’s personal banking records. They have asked that the matter be referred to the Assembly of States Parties, the 123-member executive body that oversees the court, or the United Nations, to consider “appropriate measures.”
The collapse of Kenyatta’s case before trial dealt another setback to the court’s prosecutors, who have struggled to get suspects in the dock and have won just two cases since the ICC’s establishment in July 2002.
Prosecutors have said Kenyatta, the first sitting president to attend a court session, abused his powers to obstruct the investigation, especially after becoming head of state last year. Kenyatta’s lawyers denied this.
Prosecutors accused Kenyatta of orchestrating a wave of violence that swept Kenya after a contested presidential election in December 2007 and killed 1,200 people. He denied the charges.
“The government of Kenya has failed to execute the office of the prosecutor’s most important request for evidence in this case,” the prosecution request says.
Records of Kenyatta’s finances are “directly relevant to the prosecution’s allegation that he helped fund the violence following the election in Kenya in 2007,” it said.
The ICC has faced strong opposition in Africa, which has been the focus of all its investigations to date.
Authorities in South Africa failed to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in June when he attended a summit there, even though Pretoria is a member of the ICC.
ICC investigations have also been opened in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic, Sudan, Libya, Ivory Coast and Mali.
Overall, the court has issued arrest warrants and summonses to appear for 36 individuals, seven of whom are in ICC detention. Two prosecution convictions were upheld, with sentences of 12 and 14 years against warlords in Congo. One Congolese suspect was acquitted.
Preliminary examinations are ongoing in Afghanistan, Colombia, Georgia, Guinea, Honduras, Iraq, Nigeria, Palestine and Ukraine, among others.