Kenya refuses to release president's financial records to ICC absent court order

[JURIST] Kenyan Attorney General Githu Muigai told [text, PDF] the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Thursday that Kenya would not turn over financial records of President Uhuru Kenyatta [ICC case materials] without a court order in compliance with Kenyan law. Muigai noted specifically that his office was in no way to obstruct the ICC investigation and was merely following articles 91, 93, and 96 of the Rome Statute [text], which requires requests for information to comply with national laws. Specifically, Muigai argued that:

Article 96 deals with contents of request for other forms of assistance under Article 93 and provides that among other things, a request shall contain or be supported by such information as may be required under the law of the requested State in order to execute the request and that upon request of the Court, a State party shall consult with the court either generally or with respect to a specific matter, regarding any requirement under its national law that may apply and that during the consultations, the State Party shall advise the Court of the specific requirement of its national law.
Because Kenya's Central Bank is made entirely independent by the nation's constitution [text, PDF], the proper procedure for releasing bank records would be to go through the Kenyan court system. Supporters of the ICC argue that this is tantamount to obstruction because the ICC prosecutor is tasked with asking for cooperation in investigations from states party and is not equipped to seek out national lawsuits. However, the Kenyan government continues to claim it is cooperating and is simply bound by current law.

The trial of Kenyan authorities continues to be controversial, especially in relation to Kenyatta. Earlier this month, ICC prosecutors requested [JURIST report] an indefinite delay in the trial. Also in February the African Union called for African countries to "speak with one voice" against the trials [JURIST report] of sitting heads of state of Kenya in the ICC. In January the Trial Chamber of the ICC made an oral ruling [JURIST report] that Vice President William Ruto may be conditionally excused from attending his trial on a continuous basis. In November the ICC reversed [JURIST report] a previous decision that Kenyatta could be excused from parts of his crimes against humanity trial. In the initial ruling, the Trial Chamber stated that the excuse was "strictly granted to accommodate the demanding functions of his office as President of Kenya." Kenyatta and William Samoei Ruto [ICC case materials] are facing trial for crimes against humanity for their alleged involvement in inciting the violence that followed the 2007 Kenyan election which led to more than 1,100 deaths.

 

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