Fatou Bensouda, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor, has revealed that The Hague-based Court is open to receive new information that may help revive cases against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang.
Bensouda told Nation, that the crimes against humanity cases against the two were not terminated.
The DP and his co-accused were among six Kenyans who were charged at the ICC with instigating the 2007-2008 Post Election Violence.
However, the court vacated the cases against the duo citing lack of sufficient evidence.
The presiding judges, however, left the door open for possible fresh charges in future if sufficient evidence is tabled, noting that the cases had been hampered by political interference and threats against witnesses.
“The proceedings are declared a mistrial due to a troubling incidence of witness interference and intolerable political meddling,” read part of the ruling.
While President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was also charged at the ICC for similar charges, is against reopening of the PEV cases, Bensouda told the local publication that her office is open to receive new information related to the cases.
The information, she said, can be from the government of Kenya or any individual.
“As you are aware, on April 5, 2016, Trial Chamber V (A) vacated the charges against William Samuel 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,” she said.
“As a general matter, in accordance with Art. 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,” Bensouda said in an email to Nation.
Bensouda’s remarks come days after Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru surrendered to ICC after five years of being sought over alleged witness tampering.
Gicheru, whose warrant of arrest was issued in 2015, is accused of corruptly interfering with witnesses leading to the collapse of the Ruto and Sang cases.
Weeks after Gicheru turned himself in, the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti announced the reopening of investigations into the 2007-2008 violence that left at least 1,200 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.
But the remarks elicited an angry reaction from a section of Kenyans who accused him of being used to stop Ruto’s 2022 presidential ambitions.
The DCI boss later issued a statement indicating that his office had no intention of revisiting closed PEV cases but focus on newly reported complaints “of fear and apprehension by members of the public who feel that their lives and property are in imminent danger.”
President Kenyatta also recently warned Kinoti against reopening the cases.
In his address on November 25 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) during the launch of the collection of signatures for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), the Head of State noted that the process amounted to “reopening of old wounds”.