No immunity for Presidential aspirants Uhuru, Ruto says Bensouda

International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda addressing the press at Serena Hotel, Nairobi on October 22, 2012. Photo/BILLY MUTAI

What you need to know:

  • ICC says presidential aspirants Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto will not be granted immunity despite elections outcome

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Monday warned that Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto will not be granted immunity even if they won the coming elections. Read (Uhuru, Ruto for joint ticket)

Ms Bensouda further stated that the political process in Kenya will not destruct the judicial process by the ICC which she insisted will continue uninterrupted.

Speaking at a media briefing, Ms Bensouda said the court has no plans of reorganising its calendar to give way for the Kenyan elections in which Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are key players.

“There is no immunity for International Crimes at the ICC. The judicial calendar at the court will not be altered. The ICC judges are not bound by any political processes,” Ms Bensouda stated.

Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are significant participants in Kenya’s largest election due next year.

The two have also crafted an alliance to face the elections together in order to increase their chances of winning.

The prosecutor is scheduled to meet top State officials including President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, members of the Cabinet sub committee on the ICC, the Chief Justice and the Attorney General.

Earlier this year the ICC decided to try four Kenyans in April on charges of fomenting deadly post-election violence in 2007-2008.

Two of the four -- Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, 50, and former agriculture minister William Ruto, 45, -- plan to run in presidential elections due in March.

Kenyatta and ex-civil service chief Francis Muthaura, 65, each face five charges of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, persecution, deportation and other inhumane acts.

Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang, 36, who were opposition supporters in 2007, each face three charges of crimes against humanity.

In her first official visit to Kenya, Bensouda also said witnesses in the case were being intimidated.

"A climate of fear is being created for the witnesses not to come forward to give evidence," she said at a press conference in Nairobi, warning that "those who attempt to intimidate the witnesses will face justice."

Bensouda is on a five-day visit to meet with the country's president, prime minister and top officials from the justice and security ministries. She is also scheduled to meet victims of the 2007 post-election violence, which left more than 1,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.