Victims upset by Uhuru case decision, says lawyer
The lawyer representing the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fergal Gaynor, has called the withdrawal of the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta a disappointment.
Mr Gaynor said the victims were still crying for justice.
He was reacting to the statement by ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Friday that she was withdrawing the case against President Kenyatta, who had been charged at The Hague-based court with alleged crimes against humanity.
“Today’s withdrawal of the charges against Uhuru Kenyatta will inevitably disappoint the estimated 20,000 victims of the crimes charged in this case,” Mr Gaynor said in a statement.
He said that the surviving victims of the post-election crimes were yet to receive justice from the Kenyan criminal justice system.
“Thousands now live in abject poverty, uncompensated for the destruction of their homes, businesses and families,” he said.
He said that the cases against “all three of those identified by the ICC Prosecutor as the principal suspects” had collapsed in troubling circumstances.
He blamed the ICC for doing “next to nothing to hold perpetrators to account for the crimes committed”.
NO SUPPORT FROM ICC
“It (The Hague) has given hardly any support or compensation to those who were attacked in Naivasha and Nakuru,” Mr Gaynor added.
He said it was regrettable that the victims had received “almost nothing from the entire ICC process”.
He called for the quick setting up of an ICC trust fund for victims that he said would provide livelihood and counselling assistance to the victims.
He further called on the ICC prosecutor to bring some of the perpetrators of the crimes to book so as not to disappoint the victims further.
BENSOUDA CITES FRUSTRATIONS
While announcing her decision to withdraw the case against Mr Kenyatta, Ms Bensouda said her efforts to get crucial documents from the Kenya government to support her case were futile.
“Crucial documentary evidence regarding the 2007-2008 post-election violence, including concerning the conduct of the accused, can only be found in Kenya and is only accessible to the Prosecution through the assistance of the Government of Kenya.
“This crucial assistance was ultimately not provided, as confirmed by the recent decision of the Trial Chamber,” said Ms Bensouda in a statement soon after announcing her decision to withdraw the case.
She said her office had faced numerous challenges that made it difficult for her to properly investigate the 2007-2008 post-election crimes in Kenya.
Among those challenges was what she called a “steady and relentless stream of false media reports about the Kenya cases.”
She also said she faced an “unprecedented campaign on social media to expose the identity of protected witnesses in the Kenya cases”.
POTENTIAL WITNESSES INTIMIDATED
Ms Bensouda also revealed that there were concerted and wide-ranging efforts to harass, intimidate and threaten potential witnesses.
She said the failure of the Kenyan government to provide crucial documents had undermined her case while at the same time depriving victims of their right to know the full account of what happened during the 2007-2008 post-election violence period.
“Ultimately, the hurdles we have encountered in attempting to secure the cooperation required for this investigation have in large part, collectively and cumulatively, delayed and frustrated the course of justice for the victims in this case,” said Ms Bensouda.
Her withdrawal of the case against President Kenyatta came two days after judges of Trial Chamber V (B) gave her seven days to withdraw the case if she did not have enough evidence to go to trial.