ICC judges slam Prosecutor Bensouda over evidence against Uhuru
Kenya: Judges in The Hague have severely criticised the Prosecution’s investigations in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta with regard to the credibility of its witnesses and evidence.
But as they read the Riot Act to International Criminal Court ( ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, the judges threatened to refer Kenya to the Assembly of State Parties if it failed to disclose the financial records of President Kenyatta. In a bare knuckled attack on Bensouda’s office, the three-judge bench said it had serious concerns regarding the thoroughness of the Prosecution investigations. “The Chamber has serious concerns regarding the timeliness and thoroughness of Prosecution investigations in this case including—in accordance with its responsibilities under Article 54 (l) (a) of the Statute—verifying the credibility and reliability of the evidence upon which it intended to rely at trial,” said the judges. The latest criticism is likely to bolster Uhuru’s defence and that of his deputy William Ruto, who have both branded ICC witnesses as “liars and extortionists who are only in the process for financial gain”.
Judges, Kuniko Ozani, Robert Fremr and Geoffrey Henderson, criticised Bensouda for failing to review the consistency and reliability of its witnesses. “The Prosecution was, from an early stage of the proceedings, on notice regarding potentially serious challenges to the credibility of certain of its key witnesses,” the judges said as they adjourned the trial to October 7. “This should have been sufficient to prompt a thorough review of the evidence in the case and, in particular, the consistency and reliability of witness statements. Despite the fact that the Prosecution has had ample time to prepare the case for trial, this was not done in an appropriately timely manner,” they added. Major blow The Chamber was referring to two critical witnesses and alleged members of the outlawed Mungiki sect, OTP 11 and OTP 12, whose withdrawal from the case had delved a major blow to the Prosecution’s case. OTP 12 was removed from the witness list after admitting that he lied regarding the infamous State House meeting he initially claimed he attended.
It was at this meeting that Uhuru allegedly sanctioned retaliatory attacks in Naivasha and Nakuru. However, Witness 11 informed the Prosecution late last year that he was no longer willing to testify.