By Maureen Murimi, Citizen Digital
The Government now wants the International Criminal Court (ICC) to handover files of three Kenyans wanted by the Hague-based court over allegations of witness tampering.
According to Attorney General (AG) Prof. Githu Muigai the three should be tried locally as Kenya has a working legal system that can competently handle their cases.
Walter Barasa, Paul Gicheru and Philip Bett are wanted by ICC on suspicions of obstructing the course of justice.
Muigai’s statement comes about three days after it emerged that Kenya could be slapped with sanctions and risk being declared a pariah state, if it fails to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) by handing over three suspects facing charges of corruptly influencing prosecution witnesses.
ICC spokesman Fadi El-Abdallah said the institution had not received any official notice from the government, indicating its intention to stop cooperating with court, despite President Uhuru Kenyatta’s declaration that no other Kenyan would stand trial at The Hague.
President Kenyatta’s statement at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru on Saturday captured the ICC’s attention.
Speaking at the thanksgiving rally for the six former International Criminal Court (ICC) suspects, known as the Ocampo Six, the President said the three will face local trial.
The Head of State said the government will not bow down to pressure from the Hague-based court to extradite the ICC suspects.
About two weeks ago, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda called on the Government of Kenya to fulfill its obligations under the Rome Statute and surrender Walter Osapiri Barasa, Paul Gicheru and Phillip Kipkoech Bett to the court without further delay.
Barasa, Gicheru and Bett are wanted on charges of obstructing the course of justice.
In a statement, Bensouda said prosecutions before the ICC can stand or fall on the willingness of witnesses to come forward and tell their story in the courtroom.
According to Bensouda, 17 witnesses who had agreed to testify against the accused subsequently withdrew their cooperation with the court.