Ruto's Lawyer Replaces Fatou Bensouda As ICC Prosecutor

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    Deputy President William Ruto (centre) with his lawyer and incoming ICC prosecutor Karim Khan (right) in the Netherlands
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  • Deputy President William Ruto's lawyer, Karim Khan, was voted in as the new International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor in The Hague, Netherlands, on Friday, February 12. 

    Khan also represented former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura. The British attorney and the Queen's Counsel won against three other candidates in a secret ballot and will replace outgoing prosecutor Fatou Bensouda when his term commences on June 16. 

    Bensouda succeeded Argentine Louis Moreno Ocampo who initiated investigations in Kenya over the 2007  Post Election Violence (PEV) cases. 

    Khan garnered 72 votes, 10 more than the threshold needed (62) and will be ICC's prosecutor for the next nine years. 

    Khan defeated Carlos Castresana of Spain, Ireland's Fergal Gaynor and Italy's Francesco Lo Voi. The lawyer has a career spanning 27 years in law and has represented several clients in all roles at the ICC, from prosecution, defence and as counsel for victims. 

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    British Karim Khan, the Queen's Counsel at a past ICC case in The Hague Netherlands
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    In July 2020, Kenya rejected Bensouda's ICC nominees which had excluded Khan, saying that the list was biased and doctored to favour a certain applicant. The candidates selected were Nigerian Morris Anyah, Fergal Gaynor from Ireland, Ugandan Susan Okalany and Richard Roy from Canada.

    Anyah and Okalany represented the victims of 2007 post-election violence in Kenya, while Gaynor also represented the victims in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta. The charges against the Kenya President have since been dropped. 

    Bensouda, four months later in December 2020, said that she wanted to revive cases against DP Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang. She averred that the cases were vacated and not thrown out of court after the duo applied for their acquittal citing lack of enough evidence. 

    The former prosecutor that the court is ready to receive any fresh information that would incriminate the duo. 

    In November 2020, Paul Gicheru, a Kenyan lawyer who represented Ruto at the ICC surrendered himself at the Hague. The international court issued his arrest warrant accusing him of interfering with witnesses and obstructing justice in DP Ruto's case. 

    All these developments all came at a time when the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) hinted at reopening the 2007 Post Election Violence (PEV) cases. Kinoti explained that he would not revisit the cases but would act on complaints raised by victims who claimed their lives were in danger. 

    DP Ruto and President Kenyatta condemned the move, with the former saying that the decision would reverse Kenya's gains in the fight against tribalism. 

    "Those who are trying to dig the graves, I read in the newspaper, let them not think they are joking, I cannot accept such things because we moved on and buried those memories. If you try again you don't know what problems you might cause," Kenyatta added. 

    Ruto, in an interview with former NTV anchor Ken Mijungu on Thursday, January 23, Ruto disclosed that he was aware of a plot to revive the ICC case against him. He added that he received intel about the issue from the National Intelligence Service Director General, Major General Philip Kameru.

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    Incoming ICC prosecutor Karim Khan represents Deputy President William Ruto in ICC
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    violence arrest fight