Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta attended his status conference today at the ICC regarding alleged crimes committed in 2007-2008, following the election in Kenya. The president, who at the time was the country’s deputy president, is accused of five separate crimes against humanity.
– Wednesday 8 October, morning –
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived at the ICC this morning for a scheduled status conference regarding allegations of crimes against humanity. There was a large following of Kenyatta supporters waiting outside the court building in The Hague. A swarm of journalists surrounded Kenyatta as he arrived with the president’s supporters cheering their leader on.
Kenyatta supporters outside the ICC – João Pires/Justice Hub
The status conference got underway at 10:00 local time, with a packed gallery and media centre, including Kenyatta’s family and a huge following of Kenyan MPs. Early on Kenyatta’s representative Steven Kay made the court aware that he will be answering questions on Kenyatta’s behalf, and that the Kenyan President wouldn’t be making any statements today.
The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) urged the court to apply sanctions for Kenya’s failure to cooperate during the investigation, saying that they believe it would be wholly inappropriate for the case to be withdrawn since there has been no cooperation. They also suggested to adjourn the case without a fixed date, until such a time the Kenyan government starts to cooperate. The OTP did state that they were making no allegations and have no evidence that Kenyatta has interfered with the case as President.
Kay was later allowed to address the court, stating that the Kenyan attorney general’s submissions on 7 October showed that the Kenyan government is cooperating. The trial chamber went on to ask whether the defense would like a verdict to be entered, to which Kay said yes. Kay also mentioned the fact that it’s a regular practice in most common law jurisdictions to drop the case when the prosecution has no evidence.
The judges went on to invite both sides to summarize their submissions to the judges before the trial chamber took a break. Throughout the day, Kenyatta supporters stood outside the court, chanting with optimism about the potential outcome: “Uuuhuuuruuuu! The gate of the prison will open. Free our President”. The group was led by Nairobi senator Mike Sonko Mbuvi.
– Wednesday 8 October, afternoon –
João Pires/Justice Hub
As the status conference resumed after the break, the defense came out claiming to have been ignored by the OTP: “We are used to being regularly ignored. We provided three months of bank records but we did not hear back from the prosecution,” said Steven Kay. He stated that they have drawn a line in the sand, saying they will not provide more evidence to the prosecution. He further said that President Kenyatta is entitled to his verdict of not guilty.
After Steven Kay finished his statement, Judge Kuniko Ozaki closed the status conference and adjourned for the day.
João Pires/Justice Hub
As President Kenyatta left the ICC building, he was welcomed by the large crowd. He addressed his supporters, even though he didn’t make any statements during the status conference.
Lead image: (Uhuru Kenyatta at the International Criminal Court / Photo: ICC-CPI)