#GlobalJusticeWeekly – Kenyatta case not ready for October trial says prosecutor

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the ICC in 2011. © APA

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the ICC in 2011. © APA

The ICC prosecutor has asked judges to postpone the 7 October start date of the trial Uhuru Kenyatta until the Kenyan government fulfills requests to cooperate with the case.

Last week, judges ordered the prosecution to confirm whether it anticipated being in a position to begin the trial. In a filing to the Court today, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that she has yet to receive from the government records belonging to the Kenyan president that she believes are crucial to the case.

The prosecution says that it does not consider the evidence available to be sufficient to prove Kenyatta’s alleged criminal responsibility beyond reasonable doubt, with the situation remaining the same as when it sought an postponement of the trial in December last year.

Following the withdrawal of several key prosecution witnessses, legal wrangles over requests to the Kenyan government to assist in providing the prosecution with access to Kenyatta’s phone, financial and land records have been ongoing for several months.



Central African Republic
February elections are likely to be delayed due to continued insecurity, according to the CAR’s interim government. A group of former Seleka rebels said that it expelled from its ranks several individuals serving in a new government formed to end cyclical violence in the CAR.

Kenya
The trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and broadcaster Joshua Sang resumed at the ICC in The Hague this week with testimony of one of nine witnesses being compelled to appear for the prosecution. ICC prosecutors asked judges to treat the witness, appearing via video-link from Nairobi, as hostile after he said that he had previously given false evidence against Ruto. Judges also rejected the witness’s request to delay his testimony. The remainder of the prosecution witnesses are also set to testify via video-link, but their availability has reportedly not been confirmed. The prosecution wants judges to allow reluctant witnesses’ initial statements be admitted as evidence if they fail to appear to testify at trial. It also requested permission to introduce new evidence to prove that key witnesses have been bribed or intimidated.

Physicians for Human Rights study found that the pattern of alleged sexual assaults in Kenya’s 2007-08 post-election violence is consistent with patterns of mass rape in conflict settings elsewhere.

Darfur
Amnesty International (AI) called for those responsible for the killing and torture of protesters in Sudan to be brought to justice. Thousands of displaced persons protested against repeated raids by government forces at a South Darfur camp.

Democratic Republic of Congo
Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice expressed concern that reparations in the Germain Katanga case may be distributed on an individual basis. An Institute for Security Studies analyst argued that the abrupt end of the Katanga case—with appeals withdrawn—failed the victims participating in the case.

The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and United Nations Development Fund have published the results of a survey on perceptions and attitudes about peace, security and justice in eastern DRC, including findings and recommendations on the ICC.

Uganda
The Sudan Tribune reported that the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been pushed into South Sudan and is forming alliances with South Sudanese rebels as well as the Sudanese government. Meanwhile, the LRA released 26 abductees.

Libya
Lawyers for Justice in Libya re-launched its magazine on human rights and rule of law in Libya.

Blogger and academic Kevin Jon Heller argued that the ICC should reconsider Libya’s ability to try Abdullah Al-Senussi in light of the increasing insecurity and chaos in the country. The Libyan government said that militias have seized control of government ministries in Tripoli, and at least 13 people were killed and 45 injured in clashes between militias in Benghazi.

Mali
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and a group of other organizations urged all parties to the Mali peace talks to exclude amnesty for international crimes and ensure that all perpetrators are prosecuted. The UN condemned an attack on peacekeepers in Mali that killed four and injured 15.

Cote d’Ivoire
The ICC postponed the confirmation of charges hearing in the case against Charles Blé Goudé to 29 September. ICC judges gave the Ivorian government until 10 October to submit comments on the state of proceedings against Simone Gbagbo.

Preliminary Examinations
Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on NATO members to support human rights in Afghanistan after the 2014 draw down. AI called for NATO to ensure accountability for crimes against civilians in Afghanistan.

Georgia’s parliament condemned Russia’s alleged aggression against Ukraine, likening it to the August 2008 war.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project asked the ICC prosecutor to investigate the sponsors of the Boko Haram in Nigeria, which allegedly includes some high-ranking Nigerian officials and public figures. Nigeria’s opposition party demanded that two former government officials accused of sponsoring the insurgent group be sent to the ICC. The Boko Haram reportedly seized another town in northeast Nigeria.

Campaign for Global Justice
In a Guardian op-ed and statement, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that she can only investigate alleged crimes in Palestine if the Palestinian government accepts ICC jurisdiction. According to a senior Palestinian official, the latest conflict in Gaza was a ‘game changer’ that convinced the Palestinian president to join the ICC.

What else is happening?
FIDH and a group of human rights organizations urged African states to reject immunity for sitting heads of state at the African Court.

AI said that the beheading of a second American journalist by ISIS is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to war crimes allegedly committed by the group. AI also accused ISIS of ethnic cleansing and war crimes in northern Iraq. HRW accused ISIS of carrying out mass executions in Iraq and using cluster munitions in Syria. The World Press Freedom Committee called for ISIS’s alleged crimes to be investigated by the ICC. The UK is funding a team of investigators collecting evidence of alleged ISIS war crimes in Iraq and Syria.

The Russian Red Cross formed a commission to document alleged war crimes in Ukraine. An Israeli civil rights group said that it will file a claim against Hamas’ political leader at the ICC, saying that he is subject to the Court’s jurisdiction as a Jordanian citizen. Thirteen former Bosnian Serb police and soldiers were arrested on suspicion of war crimes allegedly committed in 1992. Outgoing president of the Assembly of States Parties, Tiina Intelmann, has been appointed the head of the European delegation to Liberia.

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