Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, on the withdrawal of charges against Mr. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta
On the 3rd of December 2014, the Judges of Trial Chamber V (B) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) declined to further adjourn the trial of Mr. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta. Accordingly, given the state of the evidence in this case, I have no alternative but to withdraw the charges against Mr. Kenyatta. Earlier today, I filed a notice to withdraw charges against Mr. Kenyatta. I am doing so without prejudice to the possibility of bringing a new case should additional evidence become available.
This is a painful moment for the men, women and children who have suffered tremendously from the horrors of the post-election violence, and who have waited, patiently, for almost seven years to see justice done.
I have decided to withdraw the charges against Mr. Kenyatta after carefully considering all the evidence available to me at this time. I have based this decision on the specific facts of this case, not on any other consideration. As Prosecutor, my actions and decisions have always been guided by the law and the evidence.
Notwithstanding my personal commitment to pursue justice and accountability for Kenyans who were subjected to the terrible violence that swept through Nakuru and Naivasha after the 2007 elections, I can only proceed to trial when there is a reasonable prospect of conviction at trial based on the evidence at my disposal. If there is no such prospect then it is my professional responsibility as Prosecutor to withdraw the charges against the accused.
You will recall that on 5 September 2014, I requested the Trial Chamber to adjourn the trial of Mr. Kenyatta until the Government of Kenya executes in full the Prosecution's April 2014 Revised Request for records. I informed the Chamber at that time that my evidence remained the same as when I sought an adjournment of the trial date in December 2013, and as such, that I did not consider the available evidence to be sufficient to prove Mr. Kenyatta's alleged criminal responsibility beyond reasonable doubt as is required at trial.
Despite my persistent efforts and those of my committed Team to advance the course of justice in Kenya, in this instance, those who have sought to obstruct the path of justice have, for now, deprived the people of Kenya of the accountability they deserve.
I have explained to the people of Kenya the severe challenges my Office has faced in our investigation of Mr. Kenyatta. These include the fact that:
- several people who may have provided important evidence regarding Mr. Kenyatta's actions, have died, while others were too terrified to testify for the Prosecution;
- key witnesses who provided evidence in this case later withdrew or changed their accounts, in particular, witnesses who subsequently alleged that they had lied to my Office about having been personally present at crucial meetings; and
- the Kenyan Government's non-compliance compromised the Prosecution's ability to thoroughly investigate the charges, as recently confirmed by the Trial Chamber.
I am withdrawing the charges against Mr. Kenyatta because I do not believe that it is possible at this time, for me to fully investigate and prosecute the crimes charged in this case. The withdrawal of the charges does not mean that the case has been permanently terminated. Mr. Kenyatta has not been acquitted, and the case can be re-opened, or brought in a different form, if new evidence establishing the crimes and his responsibility for them is discovered. My Office will continue to receive and consider information which may shed light on those who are responsible for the 2007-2008 post-election violence, and will assess what further steps it can realistically and meaningfully take at this point in time in relation to the crimes committed in Nakuru and Naivasha, considering the current situation in Kenya.
However, I wish to say a few words about the failure of the Government of Kenya to cooperate fully and effectively with my investigations in this case. From the time that the Prosecution submitted its revised 8 April 2014 Request to the Government of Kenya, the material the Government sent us simply did not respond to a significant portion of our Revised Request for Records. In short, most of the material sought in my Revised Request was not provided. This is despite the fact that ICC Judges clearly confirmed that my Revised Request was valid, and dismissed all of the Government's objections to it.
In this situation, the most relevant documentary evidence regarding the post-election violence could only be found in Kenya. Yet, despite assurances of its willingness to cooperate with the Court, the Government of Kenya failed to follow through on those assurances.
Ultimately, the hurdles we have encountered in attempting to secure the cooperation required for this investigation have in large part, collectively and cumulatively, delayed and frustrated the course of justice for the victims in this case.
To conclude, today is a dark day for international criminal justice. Be that as it may, it is my firm belief that today's decision is not the last word on justice and accountability for the crimes that were inflicted on the people of Kenya in 2007 and 2008; crimes that are still crying out for justice.
Mnamo tarehe 3 December 2014, Majaji wa Tawi la kesi cha Chumba cha V (B) wa Mahakama ya Kimataifa ya Jinai (ICC) walikataa kuhairisha mashtaka katika kesi ya Bwana Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta. Kufuatana na hali ya ushahidi katika kesi hii, sina njia nyingine yeyote bali kuondoa mashtaka dhidhi ya Bwana Kenyatta.
Asubuhi ya leo, nimefaili tangazo ya kuondoa mashtaka dhidhi ya Bwana Kenyatta. Ninafanya hivi bila kuleta madhara kwamba nitaanza kesi mpya wakati ambapo ushahidi mwingine zaidi utakapatikana.
Hii ni wakati wa uchungu kwa mabwana, mabibi na watoto walioteswa vibaya sana katika vitisho vya ghasia ya baada ya uchaguzi na waliosubiri kwa ustamilivu karibu miaka saba kwa kuona haki imefanyika.
Nimeamua kuondoa mashtaka dhidhi ya Bwana Kenyatta baada ya kuangalia kwa makini ushahidi wote niliokuwa nao kwa wakati huu. Nimetegemea hatua hii kufuatana na ukweli maalum ya kesi hii, bila kuzingatia jambo lingine lolote. Kama vile Mwendesha Mashtaka, vitendo na maamuzi yangu vimeongozwa kwa kawaida na sheria pamoja na ushahidi.
Ijapokuwa msimamo wangu binafsi ya kuendelea na kufuata haki na kuwajibika kwa Wakenya waliokabiliwa na kunyanyaswa wakati wa ghasia iliotokea miji za Nakuru na Naivasha baada ya uchaguzi wa mwaka 2007, Ninaweza tu kuendelea na kesi kama nina matarajio ya kutia hatiani katika kesi kulingana na ushahidi nilionao . Kama hakuna matarajio ya namna hiyo, basi ni wajibu wangu maulama kama vile Mwendesha Mashtaka kuondoa mashtaka dhidhi ya mshtakiwa.
Mnakumbuka ya kwamba tarehe 5 September 2014, niliomba Chumba cha Tawi la kesi kuahirisha kesi ya Bwana Kenyatta hadi Serikali ya Kenya itashirikiana kikamilifu na Ombi Mpya la taarifa ya Aprili 2014 ya Mwendesha Mashtaka. Nilieleza Chumba wakati huo kwamba ushahidi wangu ulibaki vile vile kama wakati niliomba huarishaji wa tarehe ya kesi mnamo December 2013, na kwa hivyo siku tarajia kwamba ushahidi ilikuwa ya kutosha kwa kuonyesha kwamba Bwana Kenyatta alihusiana na jukumu ya madai ya jinai zaidi ya shaka kama vile inahitajika katika kesi.
Licha biidi yangu na nia ya Timu yangu kuendelesha utaratibu wa sheria katika Kenya, kwa wakati huu, wale waliohusika na kutaka kuzuia njia za sheria, kwa sasa wanawanyima wananchi wa Kenya haki wanayo stahili.
Nimeeleza kwa wananchi wa Kenya vikwazo vikali ambayo Ofisi yangu imekabiliana nayo kuhusu uchunguzi wa Bwana Kenyatta. Hizi ni pamoja na mambo kama vile:
- Watu wengi waliotoa ushahidi muhimu kuhusu vitendo vya Bwana Kenyatta wamefariki, wakati ule ule wengine walikuwa na hofu kuwa washahidi wa Mwendesha Mashtaka;
- Washahidi muhimu waliotoa ushahidi kwa kesi hii walijiondoa ama walibadilisha maelezo yao, na hasa, washahidi walio hatimaye dai kwamba walisema uongo kwa Ofisi kuhusu kuwa binafsi kwa mikutano muhimu; na
- Kutotekeleza kwa Serikali ya Kenya kumeathiri uwezo wa Mwendesha Mashataka kuchunguza kwa bidii sana mashataka kama vile hivi karibuni ilithibitishwa na uamuzi wa Chumba.
Nimeondoa mashtaka dhidhi ya Bwana Kenyatta kwa sababu sikubali ya kwamba inawezekana kwa wakati huu, kuchunguza kikamilifu na kuweza kushtaki makosa katika kesi hii. Kuondoa mashtaka imaanishi kwamba kesi imeudumu kuachiswa. Bwana Kenyatta haja achiliwa huru na kesi inaweza anzishwa kwa aina nyingine, kama ushahidi mpya inaweza onyesha jukumu na wajibu wake. Ofisi yangu itaendelea kupokea na kuchunguza habari itakayo toa mwanga kwa wale wenye kuwa na jukumu katika ghasia ya baada ya uchaguzi mwaka 2007-2008, na nitaendelea kuthamini nini hatua zaidi tunaweza fuata halisi wakati huu kulingana na makosa ya jinai iliyofanywa kule Nakuru na Naivasha kulingana na hali ya sasa nchini Kenya.
Hata hivyo, ninataka kusema mambo machache kuhusu kushindwa kwa Serikali ya Kenya kushirikiana kikamilifu na uchunguzi wangu katika kesi hii. Kutoka wakati Mwendesha Mashtaka alitoa Ombi mpya wa tarehe 8 Aprili 2014 kwa Serikali ya Kenya, ushahidi unaoathiri kesi Serikali iliotuma haikujibu sehemu kubwa Ombi mpya ya taarifa. Kwa kifupi, maombi ya ushahidi unaoathiri kesi iliotakikana kwa Ombi mpya haikutolewa. Hii ni licha ya thibitisho ya Majaji wa ICC waliokubali waziwazi ya kwamba ombi langu mpya ilikuwa sawa, na wakakataa pingamizi la Serikali.
Wakati kama huu, ushahidi maalum wa maandishi kuhusu ghasia ya baada ya uchaguzi inaweza kupatikana tu nchini Kenya. Hata hivyo, licha ya uhakikisho ya nia yake ya kushirikiana na Mahakama, Serikali ya Kenya imekataa kufuatilia hizo hakikisho.
Hatimaye vikwazo ambazo tumevipata kwa kujaribu kupata ushirikiano unaohitajika kwa uchunguzi huu kwa sehemu kubwa, pamoja na kwa mfululizo, imechelewesha na kuzuia mkondo wa sheria kwa waathiriwa katika kesi hii.
Kwa kumalizia, leo ni siku ya giza kwa sheria za kimataifa ya jinai. Lakini hata hivyo, ni imani yangu imara kwamba uamuzi wa leo sio neno la mwisho kwa haki na uwajibikaji kwa ualifu iliofanyika kwa wananchi wa Kenya miaka za 2007 na 2008; uhalifu ambazo zinaendelea kulilia haki.
Chanzo: Ofisi ya Mwendesha Mashtaka