Kenya denies not cooperating with ICC case against Kenyatta
13 February 2014, 21:32
The Hague -Kenya's attorney general on Thursday rejected accusations that Nairobi had failed to cooperate with International Criminal Court prosecutors' crimes against humanity case against President Uhuru Kenyatta.
"The impression has been created in this court and elsewhere that Kenya has not at any time extended cooperation," Attorney General Githu Muigai told a hearing on the troubled case at The Hague-based ICC.
"Nothing could be further from the truth," he said.
ICC prosecutors are asking judges to rule that Kenya had failed to help their investigation into the country's top politician.
Kenyatta, 52, is facing crimes against humanity charges for his alleged role in 2007-08 post-election violence that rocked the east African country, killing more than 1,000 people.
ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has accused Nairobi of stone-walling the probe by refusing to hand over financial records which prosecutors say could shed light on Kenyatta's alleged financing of the deadly unrest.
Muigai on Thursday insisted that Nairobi had helped the investigation where it could but that Kenyan law prevented authorities handing over financial statements without a local court order.
"We are of the view that where we could cooperate with the prosecution without a court order, we have done so," Muigai added.
Ben Gumpert, for the prosecution, told judges his office has received very little help for almost two years, apart from being told that requests to Nairobi "were being attended to".
He added: "If the prosecution can't investigate by asking for assistance what can it do?"
The court-appointed victims' representative Fergal Gaynor said Kenya, a signatory to the ICC's founding Rome Statute "has an obligation to cooperate and comply with requests by the prosecutor."
"This is not an option, nor is it a favour to the court or the victims," he said.
Thursday's hearing is the latest chapter in the vexed saga of the case against Kenyatta, who was supposed to have gone on trial last week.
Kenyatta's lawyers have told judges that the case against their client "has collapsed" after prosecutors admitted they no longer had enough evidence to put him in the dock.
In an apparent final push to bring the powerful African leader to trial, prosecutors have requested Nairobi hand over Kenyatta's financial statements.
His trial and that of his rival-turned-partner, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto, who faces similar charges, have been dogged by problems and delays.
These include accusations of witness intimidation and witness withdrawals, false testimony from other witnesses, and Kenya's international campaign to have the trials put on hold.
African leaders frequently complain that the ICC discriminates against their continent. Kenyatta has lobbied intensively to muster support against the tribunal.
Arguments include allegations that the court is targeting Africans and that Kenya's leaders need to be available to tackle Al-Qaeda-linked militants who have turned neighbouring Somalia into a major global jihadist hub.
Both Kenyatta and Ruto have maintained their innocence.