[JURIST] The Office of the Prosecutor with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official websites] unsealed arrest warrants [order, PDF] Thursday for Paul Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett, two Kenyans charged with interfering with the prosecution of the Kenya Situation. As Gicheru and Bett were arrested and made aware of the contents of the warrant in July, the ICC no longer feels the “restrictive level of classification” for the arrest warrant is justified. The ICC Prosecutors produced evidence to support the allegation that Gicheru and Bett were involved in corruption of the prosecution’s witnesses through bribes to sway them to withdraw as witnesses or recant their prior statements. Gicheru and Bett were arrested [press release] in Kenya and presented before a judge of the High Court of Kenya [official website], to ensure they would not further corrupt or endanger the ICC proceedings.
The ICC’s investigation and prosecution of the Kenya Situation [ICC backgrounder] has been ongoing since 2010. In March the ICC withdrew its charges [JURIST report] against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was accused of crimes against humanity for post-election violence, but indicated it would renew the charges if presented with enough evidence. African leaders urged [JURIST report] the ICC in February to drop cases against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto or suspend the charges until African concerns are considered by the court. In December prosecutors asked the court to drop [JURIST report] charges against Kenyatta. In response to the charges against Kenyatta and Ruto, the African Union (AU) [official website] unanimously resolved [JURIST report] in 2013 that African heads of state should be immune from prosecution by the ICC. Also in 2013 Kenya’s National Assembly approved a motion [JURIST report] to leave the ICC. Last year the AU called [JURIST report] for African countries to “speak with one voice” against the ICC trials of Kenyatta and Ruto.