News / Africa

Kenyan Denies Obstructing Case Against its President

FILE - Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (R) and a member of the Defense Council attend a hearing at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Sept. 21, 2011.
FILE - Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (R) and a member of the Defense Council attend a hearing at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Sept. 21, 2011.
Reuters
— Kenya's most senior government lawyer rejected claims on Thursday it was obstructing the International Criminal Court's investigation into crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
    
Prosecutors say Kenya's government has hindered access to bank and telephone records which they consider essential to secure a conviction on charges that Kenyatta orchestrated  violence that swept Kenya after elections in 2007.
    
The case is a test of the authority and credibility of the court, which has seen several cases collapse and secured just one conviction in 11 years.
    
It has also driven a wedge between the court's Western backers and African allies of Kenya, many of which launched a diplomatic push to have Kenyatta's trial scrapped or deferred following his election as president last year.
    
Kenyatta, who is head both of state and government, denies the charges.
    
Speaking at a meeting to decide whether Kenya is in breach of its obligation to cooperate with the court, Kenya's attorney-general Githu Muigai said prosecutors' requests for access to Kenyatta's bank records had not been correctly filed. That left Kenya with no choice but to refuse.
    
"Prosecutors cannot parade in the garments of the court, invoking powers they do not have," Muigai told the court.
    
Kenya could only breach Kenyatta's privacy by opening up his bank records if prosecutors first obtained an order from judges compelling the government to do so, he said.
    
Last week, prosecutors told the court access to Kenyatta's bank records were their last best hope of successfully prosecuting the politician in the face of "pure obstructionism" by the Kenyan government.
    
They said bank records would allow them to see if he had indirectly paid large sums of money to those who carried out the violence, in which 1,200 people died and thousands were driven from their homes.
    
In court filings, they have spoken of a "climate of fear" that has deterred witnesses from testifying against Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's founding father. His trial has been postponed four times as prosecutors sought to shore up their case.
    
Speaking for the prosecution, lawyer Ben Gumpert said Kenya's interpretation of the law appeared to have been made up on the spur of the moment.
    
"This request was made 22 months ago," he said. "The Kenyan government kept saying: 'Yes, yes, we're getting round to it,' until recently... Because the argument advanced today hadn't yet occurred to them."
    
While lobbying hard in diplomatic forums against the charges, Kenyatta has obeyed all summons to attend the court and followed other instructions made by it.
    
The court has also charged his deputy and former rival William Ruto in a similar but separate case. Both men are vigorously contesting the charges they face, and have hired prominent London human rights lawyers to defend them.
    
While Western powers led the push to establish the court and are keen to support it, they are also anxious to maintain relations with Kenya, seen as a key ally in the battle against militant Islamism in neighboring Somalia.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid