ICC : We are not after Ruto

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The International Criminal Court offices.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has distanced itself from claims by Deputy President William Ruto that there is a plot to revive his 2007/2008 post-election violence case at The Hague.

The deputy president had claimed that a “cabal that went out of its way” to try and stop him and President Uhuru Kenyatta from ascending to power in 2013 was now plotting to block him from the presidency in 2022.

“As of last year, I was having a discussion with the Director-General of NIS (National Intelligence Service), Philip Kameru, and I learned that there are people here who are ready to come and open the ICC cases,” the Deputy President said.

But the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC in The Hague would not be drawn into the allegations.

“The Office of the Prosecutor cannot comment on speculation.”

The Office of the Prosecutor said that though the charges against DP Ruto had been vacated, the door is still open to future prosecution if new evidence comes to light.

But the statement did not say whether there has been any new evidence that would warrant re-examining the case.

“As you are aware, on April 5, 2016, Trial Chamber V (A) vacated the charges against William Samoei Ruto and Joshua arap Sang without prejudice to the prosecution bringing a new case in the future, or in a different form, in light of new evidence,” the statement said.

“As a general matter, in accordance with Article 15 of the Rome Statute — the founding treaty of the ICC — any individual or group from anywhere in the world may send information on alleged crimes to the ICC Prosecutor, who is duty-bound to protect the confidentiality of the information received.

The Office analyses any such materials submitted, as appropriate, in accordance with the Rome Statute and with full independence and impartiality,” it added.

Human rights activists, including some who have previously worked with The Hague court during the active days of the Kenyan post-election violence cases, said they were not aware of any investigations to revive the cases.

The Office of the Prosecutor in November 2019 published an executive summary of an external expert’s review of the Kenya situation in which several hurdles that led to the Kenyan cases collapsing were identified.

Given that the situation in Kenya has not changed much since the collapse of the cases in 2016, it would be interesting to know how the court would surmount the challenges to conduct fresh investigations in the country and obtain witnesses against DP Ruto, if the claim made was true.