ASP adopts Kenya’s agenda on Rule 68, ICC witness procurement audit
The ASP has adopted Kenya’s agenda on the application of Rule 68 to the DP’s ICC case and the audit of the recanted witness identification and recruitment process.
Kenya had asked the Assembly of States Parties to address the use of recanted witness statements in revisiting discussions on Rule 68, that were conducted at its meeting two years ago.
Kenya does not want the rule, which allows use of the evidence, applied in DP William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang’s cases, in line with an agreement reached during the ASP’s 2013 session.
The ICC said victim participation is an important aspect of court proceedings and that “justice must be meaningful for those to whom it matters most.
“Only with global participation can the court be fully effective in intervening wherever core international crimes are committed,” it said.
Regarding the audit, Kenya wants an ad hoc mechanism of five independent jurists appointed to “establish and determine the veracity of allegations of irregular procuring and coaching of witnesses in the case within 6 months.”
The matters will be debated on Friday, following the start of the ASP’s 14th session on Wednesday.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said states play a vital role in the pursuit of justice but added “cooperation also means safeguarding the ICC’s independent judicial functions.”
Bensouda said she will not shy away from her duties under the Rome Statute adding she must exercise prosecutorial independence.
“Investing injustice must be part of any successful strategy to strengthen peace and prosperity,” she said.
Kenya had said it would withdraw from the ICC had its agenda not been adopted. The ASP’s decision comes after three ICC principals asked it to avoid matters that would undermine the court during the session.
National Assembly Majority leader termed the request a “display of hypocrisy” and asked the court to stop employing double standards in cases at The Hague.
Kenya is rallying its African allies in support of rule changes that would disbar much of the evidence prosecutors are relying on to convict Ruto over the 2007/8 post-election violence.
Following an appeal against the use of the evidence, the AU assured backing noting the court decided to use the evidence contrary to the agreement reached during talks at the 12th session.