The Hague – Kenya failed to work with the International Criminal Court in its probe over post-election violence against President Uhuru Kenyatta, the tribunal said on Monday, some 18 months after the case spectacularly collapsed.
“The Republic of Kenya had failed to comply with its obligations to co-operate with the ICC,” its judges said in a statement, as they referred the matter to the Assembly of States Parties (ASP), the court’s 124-nation legislative and oversight body.
In what is regarded by experts as the ICC’s biggest setback, prosecutors in late 2014 dropped a crimes against humanity case against the Kenyan leader for his alleged involvement in deadly 2007-08 post-election violence in the east African country.
The case collapsed after a four-year marathon investigation, littered with allegations of witness intimidation, bribery and false testimony. It was a severe blow to the ICC, set up in 2002 to investigate and prosecute the world’s worst crimes.
Kenya fought an international campaign to quash Kenyatta’s trial as well as that of William Ruto, now Kenya’s deputy president, whose case was dropped in April.
Both men had rejected charges of involvement in Kenya’s worst post-independence violence which saw around 1 300 people killed and 600 000 others displaced.
Prosecutors in a last-ditch effort to build a case against Kenyatta asked judges to order Nairobi to hand over documents, including telephone records and bank statements.
But judges in December 2014 found that “the approach of the Kenyan government fell short of the standard of good faith cooperation” as required by the ICC’s founding Rome Statute treaty.
“Despite the passage of a further 18 months and notwithstanding the Kenyan government’s statutory obligation to comply with any cooperation request, it appears no further progress has been made in implementing the prosecutor’s request,” the judges said.
Kenya’s “non-co-operation has prevented the court from exercising its functions and powers under the Statute,” they said.
The next ASP meeting is to be held in The Hague on November 16 to 24.
Last year the ICC staved off a veiled African-led threat to quit the world’s only permanent independent war crimes court over the Kenya issue.
During a tense week of meetings the African Union accused the ICC of unfairly targeting the continent, warning that Africa’s “common resolve should not be tested.”