Kenyatta Testifies at Confirmation of Charges Hearing

Kenya’s Deputy Prime Minister, Uhuru Kenyatta,  testified in his defense in the Kenya case at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.  Kenyatta is one of the six indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity in the post-election violence of 2007.  They are known in Kenya as the Ocampo six, meaning the six indicted by the prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

The case has had a bit of a history, first Kenya supported the idea of the ICC taking on the case, suggesting their institutions could not handle it, then arguing that with new laws, Kenya could take the cases and there was no need for the ICC to handle them.  So far, the court has determined that the cases remain admissible, meaning within the jurisdiction of the court.

This may become a case which clarifies the doctrine of Complementarity.  Complementarity is an important safeguard of sovereignty, and at least one one reason that 118 nations have now ratified the treaty.  The court may investigate and prosecute cases only if prosecution cannot or will not occur at a national level.

The Kenya case is at a confirmation of charges stage, similar to a probable cause hearing.  The court is to determine uses escalating standards of proof: “reasonable grounds to believe” at the warrant stage, “substantial grounds to believe” at the confirmation of charges stage and “beyond reasonable doubt” for a conviction at trial. The court must now determine if there are substantial grounds to believe the accused committed crimes within the jurisdiction of the court. It is unusual for an accused to testify at this stage, a summary of Kenyatta’s testimony is available here.  He is the first person to testify in his own defense at an ICC confirmation of charges hearing. Video of his testimony is available here.

The defense has also raised the question of admissibility, arguing the case does not belong at the ICC.



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