ICC claims witnesses threatened
Posted Wednesday, June 20 2012 at 22:30
- Government insiders expressed fear of being harmed or killed over cases, says Bensouda
International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda now says that insiders in the Kenyan government have expressed a fear of being harmed or even killed because of co-operation with her office.
Ms Bensouda says that this fear is objectively reasonable “as demonstrated by the post-PEV murders and forced disappearances of key witnesses with knowledge of the accuseds’ roles in the PEV.”
“Indeed, almost every insider — from government functionary to Mungiki member — who has spoken to the Prosecution has expressed a fear of being harmed or even killed because of co-operation with the Prosecution,” Ms Bensouda said on Wednesday.
The prosecutor lists various Mungiki leaders including Charles Wagacha, Naftali Irungu, Maina Diambo, Njuguna Gitau, George Njoroge Wagacha and Virginia Nyakio (former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga’s wife).
Ms Bensouda says that the individuals had vital information of how Mungiki was used in the violence before they were killed. The revelations are contained in the prosecutor’s response to Mr Muthaura’s claims that her office has been contacting his witnesses.
Ms Bensouda has termed as “over-blown rhetoric” claims by Mr Muthaura that the prosecution is acting improperly in the course of its investigations or departing from the “golden jurisprudential thread running through the decisions of all Chambers.”
“The Defence Application fails both in fact and in law and should be dismissed. The Prosecution has and continues to conduct itself in good faith, in accordance with its statutory duties, and with scrupulous regard for the security of witnesses,” Ms Bensouda told the judges on Wednesday.
In a redacted response to Mr Muthaura’s accusations, Ms Bensouda denied that the prosecution has contacted the said defence witnesses through an intermediary. The names of the two individuals are concealed throughout the document.
She also told the judges that the prosecution has not attempted to bribe any defence witness and asked Mr Muthaura to share its concrete allegations regarding the supposed “especially egregious misconduct.”.
However, the ICC prosecutor revealed that she has been in contact with some defence witnesses who are government officials in her cooperation requests.