Statement of the Office of the Prosecutor regarding the reported abduction and murder of Mr. Meshak Yebei
The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) reiterates its condolences to the family of Mr. Meshak Yebei. Every loss of life is a unique and profound tragedy for the family that is left to mourn. The perpetrators of this heinous crime must swiftly and decisively be brought to justice. The Office of the Prosecutor reiterates its willingness to assist the competent authorities of the Republic of Kenya, as appropriate, to effectively investigate the circumstances of Mr. Yebei’s death.
The Office of the Prosecutor wishes to address recent speculation alleging the involvement of the Office in Mr. Yebei’s tragic demise. The Office of the Prosecutor wishes to categorically state that any suggestion that the Office of the Prosecutor was involved in Mr. Yebei’s alleged abduction and murder is both outrageous and utterly false. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To avoid any doubt, the Prosecution wishes to clarify the public record regarding Mr. Yebei’s status in the context of the Prosecutor’s case against Messrs. Ruto and Sang. During the course of the Prosecution’s investigations, the Office of the Prosecutor contacted numerous individuals in Kenya, including Mr. Yebei. However, Mr. Yebei was ultimately not included on the Prosecution’s list of trial witnesses due to, amongst other reasons, information indicating that Mr. Yebei was deeply implicated in the scheme to corrupt Prosecution witnesses in the case against Mr. Ruto and Mr. Sang.
Prosecution witnesses in this case have been under siege. The Office of the Prosecutor has identified a network of individuals who have been working together to sabotage the Prosecution’s case against Messrs. Ruto and Sang, by using bribes and/or threats to either dissuade witnesses from testifying in this case or influence Prosecution witnesses to recant their testimony.
In this context, on 2 August 2013, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Walter Osapiri Barasa on charges of interfering with ICC witnesses, contrary to Article 70(1)(c) of the Rome Statute. The surrender of Mr. Barasa to the ICC remains outstanding.
The Office of the Prosecutor continues to monitor and investigate other incidents of witness interference. Investigations and prosecutions before the International Criminal Court can stand or fall on the willingness of witnesses to come forward and present their evidence in the courtroom. The Office of the Prosecutor will continue to do everything in its power to ensure that witnesses are able to present their evidence before the Court without fear.