Statement by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda at the press conference at the conclusion of Nairobi segment of ICC Prosecutor’s visit to Kenya, Nairobi
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to see many of you here again on this last day of the Nairobi segment of my visit to Kenya.
First of all, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the people and Government of Kenya and in particular President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga for the warm welcome, and the traditional Kenyan hospitality extended to me and my delegation for this visit. I am especially grateful for the support of the Kenyan Government for the organisation of the complex logistics and security arrangements of this visit - not my first to Kenya, but my first as ICC Prosecutor.
On Tuesday, I met with President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga at the Office of the President. It was a fruitful and constructive exchange of views. I conveyed my Office's concerns regarding delays in the Government's response to a number of OTP requests related to our investigations. They assured me of their willingness to ensure timely and effective execution of the pending requests and instructed the Attorney-General and the Cabinet Sub-Committee to facilitate expeditious responses to my Office's requests.
My meeting with the President and Prime Minister was followed by a meeting with the Cabinet Sub-Committee which was also attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Attorney-General and other officials. The meeting focussed on the specific requests, the dates they were submitted and the nature of the information requested.
In both meetings with President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga as well as with the Cabinet Sub-Committee, I stressed that time is of the essence given that our final list of evidence is due on 9 January 2013. The submission of this evidence is essential for giving the Defence a fair trial. I expressed my strong desire to receive all the requested information by the end of November 2012 to enable me to comply with my obligations to the Defence. I was assured by the Committee that they will take appropriate steps to ensure that I am provided with the information without delays.
I also reiterated my concerns regarding witness intimidation and the increasing climate of fear affecting those perceived to be ICC witnesses, their family members, as well as those perceived to be associated with the ICC. We agreed that witness intimidation is unacceptable and that both the Court and the Government of Kenya have a responsibility to investigate and punish anyone who intimidates or tampers with witnesses.
Yesterday, I met with the Chief Justice and exchanged views on issues of mutual interest. Additionally, I met with members of civil society, and also briefed the diplomatic community in Kenya on developments in my Office ‘s work.
This morning, I went to Nakuru, in order to meet with victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence. This trip to Nakuru was an expression of my desire to listen to and interact with victims.
My programme tomorrow includes visiting Kiambaa Church and its environs, continuing my exchange with victims, and meeting with other members of the public. My visit to Eldoret is primarily about public information on the ICC process and my role as Prosecutor. I hope that by listening to and directly exchanging views with victims groups and the public, albeit a very small representative sample, to gain a better idea of what all victims still need to know or understand about the ICC process, the work of my Office, or the next steps. Of course I cannot meet with all victims throughout Kenya, nor listen to everyone affected by the PEV. I wish I could. But to those I shall meet and to all those whom I cannot, I say this:
In the course of my career, I have had the opportunity to meet and listen to many - too many - victims of massive crimes. Invariably, I am touched and humbled by the dignity and courage of those who have lost and suffered so terribly. The start point and end point of this entire ICC process in Kenya remains the PEV victims and the justice they deserve.
When we speak of courage, I want to speak also of the special kind of moral courage shown by our witnesses. Caring for witnesses and ensuring their well being is a key priority for me. It takes an exceptionally moral breed of person to stand up and speak. The challenges we face together with witnesses and the sacrifices they make for the sake of truth and justice are exemplary. To these Kenyans, who are prepared to come forward, and to protect the truth no matter what, and to all other witnesses who have come forward, and continue to come forward, I want to say, thank you. To others who may harbour doubts, I say be courageous and follow the examples of your brothers and sisters who are helping ICC to expose the truth.
You have heard my Office many times putting on notice anyone who attempts to bribe, threaten or intimidate OTP witnesses. It is a serious crime by those who aim to prevent not just the Court, but Kenyans, from knowing the truth. Those who attempt to pervert justice by instilling fear or paying off witnesses to stay quiet, you are criminals. We will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute you. This is not an empty warning.
Lastly, I want to say this. I am prepared to say it again and again, lest there be any mistake. No matter what anyone else may say, whoever they are. We are impartial. We are objective. We are independent. We are not biased against anyone. We are not biased against Kalenjin or Kikuyu, not against Kisii or Luo, Maasai or any Kenyan tribe. This is not a case about political responsibility. It is not a case of targeting certain communities. It is about individual criminal responsibility.
Together with Kenyans we are pursuing justice, for the sake of all the PEV victims from all affected regions and from all Kenyan tribes. We will continue to do our work, in strict conformity with the law. With the help and courage of Kenyans, we will fight for Justice to run its course. And we will be scrupulously fair.
ICC's sole purpose is to end impunity for the worst crimes in the world: Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against humanity, and to prevent future crimes. To transform the words 'Never Again' from a moral promise to a legal obligation. Simply put, this means no-one, irrespective of status, can commit crimes on a massive scale and get away with it. It is the law.
Let me repeat what I said on Monday: our motivation is those who are indisputably the real victims of Kenya's PEV - families, women, men, children and babies who have been beaten, killed, burned, raped, mutilated, and dispossessed. For them and for the sake of all Kenyans, it is crucial to break the cycle of impunity and violence. Ensuring justice and accountability can play a part. We stand ready to do our part, but we can not do it alone, it is up to Kenyans to decide to make this happen, within a strong and united Kenya. I hope I can count on Kenyans in this joint endeavour.