Surrender witnesses or else…ICC now dares government

Kisumu,Kenya:The International Criminal Court (ICC) has warned the government of “dire consequences” should they fail to surrender the eight prosecution witnesses. ICC Outreach co-ordinator Maria Kamara said the government must fully co-operate since the court compels it to do so. Speaking in Kisumu, Kamara said the ICC had also given the government an opportunity to appeal against the ruling. She said The Hague-based court has given the government until May 20 to appeal against the decision by the court to summon witnesses to appear in court.

“The government had been granted leave to appeal against the ruling arrived at by the majority of judges,” she said. She said the government is expected to fully co-operate with the court failure by which compulsory measures might be taken against it. “The government should expeditiously fast-track the demands by the court by providing the financial status of President Uhuru Kenyatta, surrendering Walter Barasa as well as the eight prosecution witnesses who had withdrawn”, she said.

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Kamara said the eight witnesses’ testimony was vital in the cases and legal instruments must be used to ensure that they testify at all means. “The court will use all the available legal instruments to ensure that the eight witnesses testify regarding the cases against Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang,” she said. However, she said ICC might find it hard to force the witnesses to go to The Hague because the court does not have a police force.

The AG also said the law prohibits the ICC from sitting in Nairobi to hear evidence that was not voluntarily given by its citizens. Kenya’s High Court in March ruled that Barasa, who is suspected of offering bribes to prosecution witnesses in the trial of Ruto, can be extradited.

Barasa who denies the allegations, had sought to challenge the arrest warrant issued by the ICC last year arguing that it was unlawful and that he could not be handed over to the international court to be tried for offences that fall under Kenya’s domestic law. On the other hand, Muigai has said the Kenyan government will not furnish ICC with records of Uhuru’s financial transactions, insisting this will first have to be cleared by local courts.

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