Kenya should cooperate with International Court as Deputy President's trial set to open at The Hague

The government’s recent efforts to politicise the ICC trials are deplorable’ - Netsanet Belay

The Kenyan authorities must cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure justice is done for the victims of the 2007-8 post-election violence, Amnesty International said today, ahead of the opening of the trial of Deputy President William Ruto and broadcaster Joshua arap Sang in The Hague.

William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang are accused of crimes against humanity including murder, forcible population transfer, and persecution. They are appearing voluntarily before the ICC on a summons, and must continue to cooperate fully with the proceedings, including attending the hearings as instructed. Failure to attend hearings could lead to the Court issuing arrest warrants which would require their surrender and possible detention in The Hague.

Risks relating to witnesses, including intimidation and interference with obtaining their testimony, have emerged as a significant challenge to the ICC’s proceedings in Kenya. In the last three months, four witnesses have withdrawn their cooperation from the trials - some citing security concerns.

Although the Kenyan authorities have stated that they will cooperate with the ICC, they have also made determined attempts before the United Nations Security Council, the African Union and most recently Kenya’s Parliament to undermine and derail the ICC’s work to pursue justice for these crimes.

Amnesty International Africa Director Netsanet Belay said:

“The government’s recent efforts to politicise the ICC trials are deplorable, and must not be allowed to affect the commencement and future proceedings of this landmark trial.

“The ICC has a responsibility to protect victims and witnesses and Kenya has an obligation to cooperate fully with its protection efforts and any investigations it conducts into interference or intimidation.

“Six years after post-election violence rocked the country, it is high time to prioritise the pursuit of justice for the hundreds and thousands of people who lost their lives or homes.”

In 2009, the ICC Prosecutor stepped in to investigate crimes committed during the post-election violence, when the Court established that Kenya had failed to show it was taking adequate measures to investigate and prosecute the crimes which killed more than 1,000 people and displaced 600,000.

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