Media Briefing by New ICC Prosecutor During Her First Visit to Kenya

Statement by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Mrs. Fatou Bensouda

Thank you for being here for this early afternoon briefing. I wanted to start the programme of this my first official visit to Kenya as ICC Prosecutor by meeting with you and introducing myself. Let me also briefly outline for you why I am here and what I intend to do. Then I will be pleased to answer a few questions from the floor.

As you may be aware, I was nominated and supported by the African Union as the sole African candidate for the position of ICC Prosecutor, to which I was unanimously elected by the 121 States Parties on 12 December 2011. I am deeply indebted to the AU and African leaders including President Kibaki, for their confidence in me. Their support is yet another example of Africa’s commitment to international justice and their desire to end impunity. For the next nine years, I have the privilege, honour and the responsibility to serve as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Having been nominated and supported for this position by the AU, I consider myself to be a mere extension of the African fabric for ending impunity. In carrying out the mandate given to me by the 121 States Parties, I am guided by the law and the cardinal principles of independence, impartiality and fairness.

My mandate is to investigate and prosecute those most responsible for the world’s gravest crimes, where no-one else is doing justice for the victims. Our purpose, my purpose, is to seek the truth. By doing so, by bringing justice, we can provide some solace to survivors, restore dignity to shattered lives and the memory of those who were killed. We do this with utter respect. Respect for the primary responsibility of national judicial systems to carry out genuine national proceedings against those alleged to have committed crimes, respect for the rights of the accused and above all, respect for victims, all as mandated in the Rome Statute.

Kenyan victims, the women, men and children who suffered during the dark days of 2007-2008 are my priority, my daily motivation. They always have been and they always will be.

I arrived in Kenya yesterday and plan to be here for the coming week. While here, I plan to meet with key government figures, notably President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga.

You will recall that on 3 July 2009 my predecessor met with a high level delegation of Kenyan government officials in The Hague. Agreement was reached with the representatives of the Kenyan government that should the Kenyan authorities carry out genuine judicial proceedings against those most responsible for PEV, the Office of the Prosecutor would have no ground to intervene. My predecessor and the Kenyan delegation agreed that impunity was not an option.

On 5 November 2009, after being informed by the Kenyan authorities of the unfortunate gridlock at the national level, my predecessor met with President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Nairobi. He informed them that since all the statutory criteria were fulfilled, and since the Government of Kenya had been unable to reach agreement on the establishment of a local tribunal to deal with PEV crimes, it was his duty to open an investigation into the alleged crimes.

Accordingly, he requested the cooperation of Kenyan national authorities with the Court. He recalled the complementary roles of the ICC and the Kenyan authorities in combating impunity. The President and Prime Minister issued a joint statement in which they recorded their constructive meeting with the Prosecutor. The Government stated that it remained fully committed to cooperating with the ICC within the framework of the Rome Statute and the Kenyan International Crimes Act.

This continues to be the framework of the interaction between the Court and Kenya. During my stay in Kenya, I plan to meet with the people of Kenya, civil society and the diplomatic community, to thank them for the critical support they have provided and continue to provide for the work of the Office.

I am here to listen. Through a number of public and media events in the Rift Valley, I plan to exchange views with ordinary Kenyans, including with victims groups regarding ICC process.

The Judges of the ICC have agreed that four suspects must face justice for crimes they allegedly committed during the PEV. The ICC Judges have agreed there are substantial grounds to believe that the four suspects committed the crimes they are charged with and that the cases should go to trial. The four are presumed innocent until proven guilty and the burden of proof is on my Office to prove the cases against them beyond reasonable doubt. Let me stress this: the people of Kenya are not on trial; the Government of Kenya is not on trial and no ethnic community is on trial before the ICC. The allegations concern individual criminal responsibility. The four accused will have a fair trial and an equal opportunity to refute the allegations. Their guilt or innocence will be established by the Judges at the conclusion of these trials.

Based on their calendar and their workload, the judges have set the start of the trials for April next year. My Office is working at full speed to prepare for the start of the trials and the process of disclosure has already begun.

As with any judicial process we face challenges. We are working hard every day to address efforts to interfere with our witnesses and our evidence. We are also working to resolve delays in the execution of our requests by the Government of Kenya.

The political future of Kenya is in the hands of Kenyans themselves. The people of Kenya will decide on the outcome of the upcoming elections and ultimately, they will shape the future of this great country. The ICC judicial process will also take its own course irrespective of the political choices that the people of Kenya.

Nairobi Serena Hotel, Amani Room.
22 October 2012

PS: ICC Prosecutor Bensouda will hold a further press conference on the afternoon of Thursday 25 October at the conclusion of the Nairobi segment of her visit to Kenya. More details to follow.

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9 comments on “Media Briefing by New ICC Prosecutor During Her First Visit to Kenya

  1. Am late, kazi mingi, but you guys have probably seen the full press statement. Here it is.

    http://www.icc-cpi.int/menus/icc/press%20and%20media/press%20releases/otpstatement251012

    It is disappointing as much as it embarrassing that despite a rare and direct Q&A session with the Prosecutor of the ICC, Kenyan journalist were repetitive sometime irrelevant in their questioning of Bensouda. Some showed their poor research skills and open political inclinations in the kind of Q’s they asked.

    There was one important question about specifics on timing the government has been given with regard to providing additional information on the accused. Bensouda said the OTP has to divulge information to the accused by first week of January 2013, and thus she must receive the requested information by end November 2012 to meet her obligations. The promises for improved co-0peration came from the principals and she believed these promises will be met. Never mind about the the coinciding dates on ICC time table and Kenyan electoral timetable are like Siamese twins I tell you!

    My question to the OTP, through ICJ Kenya was, would these characters be locked up whilst we vote and try and make this country better? Purely for enforcing the law and stemming impunity, can the ICC be seen to be making its presence felt? Let’s wait ans see if the GoK will co-operate.

    What do you guys say?

    • phil,

      I am glad Bensouda show through the scum to have selected “IDP” leaders trying to peddle the usual nonsense to cover the asses of kina Uhuru. Bensouda basically ordered the Commissioner who had prepared the list to pick people randomly from the IDP crowd. That right there showed her she is dealing with very dangerous scumbags deeply entrenched in the government apparatus. Eldoret is going to be interesting tomorrow.

      http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000069288&pageNo=1&story_title=Kenya-Bensouda-comes-face-to-face-with-IDPs’-misery

      As to the promises from the principals and the the cabinet etc, I think like I pointed out before, the government cannot stick a finger at the OTP like some people have been praying for. They either cooperate or else….. So let them stall here and there but come court day and the info is still being held by the government the whole thing might start on a very sour note for the indicted chaps. Bensouda is now reading the leaves and she has come across as someone who thinks on her feet. She is going to need that to deal with our schemers. They are deadly.

      On your question of locking the chaps up whilst Kenyans vote, that wont happen and shouldn’t happen. ICC process must have nothing to do with the Kenyan elections. The issue is Uhuru and Ruto showing up in the court on April 10, and 11 regardless of what happens with elections. If there is a run off on April 11, Uhuru and Ruto will have to monitor it from The Hague while in court. Shauri zao. Even if they are president elect and his deputy they have to show up at The Hague and stay there as long at it takes and as long as the court needs them. They breach that and kaboom arrest warrants will be signed and the next phase of the war begins. This why we have said many times that Chapter six kicks in fully at that stage. Fugitives cannot run the government of Kenya. Same way indictees spending years at The Hague on charges of having murdered Kenyans cannot run the government of the republic of Kenya. That is the only constant in this story. Everything else is very fluid.

  2. The Uhuru publicists need to be reminded that ICC has heavy local presence in Kenya, including those very camps. It is futile investing in fake rent-an-IDP ploys because ICC investigators pick these the moment they’re tried out at the camps.

    Talk of government cooperation…the OTP is still waiting for responses from the provincial administration regarding minutes of provincial security meetings…so why would Bensouda trust the same lot to take her around the camps? It’s no wonder she fired some random questions to unprepared IDPs (not coached to lie). Her promise to incorporate such uncontaminated views from IDPs as part of her evidence tells you they were serious enough to warrant her attention.

    It’s sobering that ICC’s Chief Prosecutor could hear from victims of political violence who are 5 years later still living in dilapidated camps. She now knows she’s dealing with real people, real victims, who continue to face neglect.

    Phil hebu shoot us that update from Serena as soon as it’s done!

    • job,

      I like the calmness Bensouda has brought to the case. It is going to work very well for her in court. Judges always have problems with bullies in court and that was Ocampo’s major weakness. Like I said Ocampo’s tough demeanor was good to wrestle with the ICC rogues who thought the whole thing was a joke or a movie but in the next phase calmer approach is required.

      I was also very impressed with Bensouda’s idea of talking directly to the IDP’s. As you said those who plotted to have “arranged” issues from already picked IDPs must have been shocked when Bensouda decided to also get random responses from any IDP wishing to talk. One answer of a woman who told her point blank that she knows whoe burnt her house and broke her legs and she wondered why the Kenya government has never bothered to come to her so she can tell who the attackers were captured the whole picture very well. The politicians underestimate the anger out there. This woman was speaking knowing the hyenas may go after her but she spoke any way. There are thousands like that. And we have the jokers in the DPP office talking about prosecuting PEV perptrators and have never even bothered to talk with the victims who are still riduculously enough living in desolate camps.

      Bensouda got the very clear picture of people brutalised and abandoned by the government. Bensouda knows the reason there is no justice for these people is because the killers run the government. Tomorrow it is Eldoret. Expect the Uhuru operatives to be working on the ground trying to prep their own line of IDPs. They don’t know that the ICC operatives are right there with them. They know what is cooking and I am sure that is why Bensouda was advised to pick random questions and get the real picture. She got it.

      Here is the story from capital fm

      http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2012/10/justice-will-prevail-bensouda-assures-idps/

    • Job, Phil and Adongo,
      I don’t know what the Uhuruto gang are up to. Perhaps they are hard of hearing. Had they not been told by Ocampo that there is no evidence against the principals? Planting some fake IDPs to ask fake questions will take the gang nowhere. They should have been better off not murdering anybody in the first place.

      This is what I mean
      http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/Include+Kibaki+Raila+in+trial+Bensouda+told/-/1064/1598418/-/81i89hz/-/index.html

    • Guys,
      I have been listening to the very last minutes of the Eldorate meeting between Bensouda and local residents and I must say that people were asking many irrelevant questions. Some are even using the event to campaign for governorship. Many who had come to the meeting thought it would be politics as usual just repeating the many false claims that Ruto has been making in his public rallies.

      For example, some people asked the prosecutor why she dropped one person from ODM and another from PANU with an intention of “balancing” other than doing justice. Bensouda retorted that it was not her office that dropped the two but rather the judges after carefully listening and considering evidence and coming to a conclusion that it was not enough. She even gave an example of the Lubanga case where the prosecution’s case was first thrown out for lack of evidence. Then she said that it was not only her office bringing forward the evidence but the defense had also chance to rebut it. She then went on to remind them of the fairness of the judges.

      Many had claimed that the cases should be dropped now that people have “reconciled” and were “living” together. She reminded such people that the defense had the chance to challenge the admissibility of the cases but they did not. Instead it’s the Kenyan government that did so and lost. So her job is cut out, she has to continue with investigation and prosecution, in spite of the fact that she supports the reconciliation process. Hers is to make sure that impunity is not a choice. ICC she said is about justice but respect other processes e.g. that of reconciliation and forgiveness that’s going in Kenya.

      Many also claimed that Ocampo did not talk to them or even meet the right people. She answered that through here team she was talking to right people and taking right evidence. She reminded them that her team was talking to people discreetly and will never announce or expose them by conducting public enquiry. She closed by saying that assessment of the evidence belongs to the judges not Kenyan pedestrians.

      This lady is brilliant. I’m liking her intelligence.

  3. Amid tight security, ICC Prosecutor Bensouda has this morning visited IDPs at Pipeline camp in Nakuru. She apparently skipped Naivasha IDP camp after it emerged pro Uhuruto camps had organised anti-ICC demos, and planted fake IDPs to ask questions during her visit. This move has not gone down well with Uhuruto camp who have spent the entire morning condemning her on social media.

    In Nakuru, she also ignored what had been organised provincial administration when she listened to random statements and took random questions from the gathered IDPs throwing government plans into a spin. Bensouda was categorical that her main mission was to hear the voice of the PEV victims and their experiences following the 2007 elections as opposed to assessing the living conditions IDP camps of the victims. She promised to put into consideration whatever the victims had said in the ongoing ICC cases as part of the evidence for the case.

    Bensouda is due back in nairobi this afternoon for a final Press Briefing at Amani Room in Serena. Keep it locked for details.

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