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Prosecute those wanted by ICC locally, government says

22 April 2016, 01:00

Nairobi — Kenya's government wants three Kenyans wanted by The Hague-based International Criminal Court to be prosecuted locally, the attorney general said Thursday.

The ICC wants Kenya to extradite three citizens to the Hague-based court to answer to charges of witness tampering. A Kenyan court ruled that one of the Kenyans, former journalist Walter Barasa, should be extradited, but he has appealed the decision. The other two are lawyer Paul Gicheru, and Philip Kipkoech Bett.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday said that the government won't allow any Kenyan to be prosecuted by a foreign court after crimes against humanity charges against him, deputy president William Ruto and four others were dropped by the ICC because of a lack of evidence.

Kenyatta and the others were accused of orchestrating the post-election violence of 2007-2008 in which more than 1,000 people died and 600,000 were evicted from their homes. The ICC prosecutor said threats to witnesses, bribery and lack of cooperation by the Kenyan government led to the collapse of the cases.

Kenyan courts can try three suspects wanted for tampering with witnesses, Attorney General Githu Muigai said. Muigai said Kenya won't act unilaterally and was hoping the ICC will cooperate by handing over the files of the three suspects.

"This is a public relations exercise," said Edward Kisiangani, a political scientist. The cases cannot work here because they touch on the president and his deputy, Kisiangani said in a TV interview.

Kisiangani said there is lack of political will to allow the cases to be tried in Kenya.

Cases against Ruto and Sang were the latest to collapse at the ICC. ICC judges declared a mistrial against the two earlier this month. The charges against Kenyatta were withdrawn in December 2014.

While declaring a mistrial for Ruto and withdrawing charges against Kenyatta, the ICC said cases could be re-opened if there is new evidence.

- AP


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