Nairobi, October 22, 2012 (FH) – The International Criminal Court process against four top Kenyans will continue regardless of the outcome of March presidential elections in which two of the accused are planning to run, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said today on a first official visit to Kenya.

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“The people of Kenya will decide on the outcome of the upcoming elections and ultimately, they will shape the future of this great country. The ICC judicial process will also take its own course irrespective of the political choices that the people of Kenya make,” she told a press conference in Nairobi.

Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Member of Parliament William Ruto, former head of civil service Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua Sang face crimes against humanity charges at the ICC in connection with 2007-2008 post-election violence. Kenyatta and Ruto are presidential candidates for the March elections. ICC judges have set the start of trials for April next year.

Bensouda said her office was working “at full speed” to prepare for the start of the trials, and that the process of disclosure (of prosecution evidence) has already begun. However, she said there were also problems. “As with any judicial process we face challenges,” said the ICC Prosecutor.“We are working hard every day to address efforts to interfere with our witnesses and our evidence. We are also working to resolve delays in the execution of our requests by the Government of Kenya.”

Bensouda stressed that “the people of Kenya are not on trial; the Government of Kenya is not on trial and no ethnic community is on trial before the ICC. The allegations concern individual criminal responsibility. The four accused will have a fair trial and an equal opportunity to refute the allegations.”

During her five-day visit, Bensouda said she plans to meet with key officials including President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, as well as civil society and victims groups. She will visit the Kenyan towns of Naivasha, Nakuru and Eldoret, which bore the brunt of 2007-2008 post-election violence that claimed more than 1,000 lives.