ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan recuses himself from Kenya cases

Tuesday August 08 2023

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Karim Asad Ahmad Khan. PHOTO | AFP


The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan who is at the centre of conflict between President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza and opposition chief Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition has recused himself from all Kenya cases at The Hague based court to guard against conflict of interest, his office has revealed.

In a communique to the Nation following allegations by Mr Odinga’s camp that Mr Khan’s visit to Kenya last week could interfere with their case at the court, the office of the prosecutor (OTP)’s public information unit clarified that the official was in the country in his private capacity.

“The Prosecutor was in Kenya in a private capacity to receive an honorary degree. Please note that pursuant to Article 42.7 of the Rome Statute, Mr Karim A.A. Khan KC in his capacity as the Prosecutor of the ICC has recused himself from all Kenya cases before the ICC,” read the communication.

khan thika

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan (L) is conferred with an honorary doctor of law by Mount Kenya University Chancellor Prof John Struthers during the university 23rd graduation ceremony at its graduation square at Happy Valley in Thika town in Kiambu County, Kenya on July 3, 2023. PHOTO | NMG

Read: ICC prosecutor recuses himself from Kenya case

Mr Khan’s office further stated that he has since “instituted practical measures to protect against any conflict of interest that may be perceived to arise from his former representation of ICC suspects or accused persons.”


In the statement, the court also confirmed receipt of the case by Azimio.

“Under Article 15 of the Rome Statute, any individual or group may send information (which the ICC refers to as “communications”) on alleged crimes to the ICC Prosecutor, who is duty bound to protect the confidentiality of the information received.”

“The Office of the Prosecutor therefore does not comment on such communications, beyond confirming receipt of such communication if the sender has made that fact public. In this instance, we can confirm that we have received a communication as the sender has made that fact public,” it stated.

The statement came barely a day after Azimio slammed Mr Khan following his visit to the country as it prepares its case on police brutality against protesters by the police.

Azimio deputy principal Martha Karua termed Mr Khan’s visit as “not only suspect but also a blot on the credibility of ICC.”

“ICC prosecutor Karim Khan hosting in Kenya this weekend by Mt Kenya University and its founder a friend of his former client William Ruto at a time both the Azimio and Kenya Kwanza regime have written to ICC on the situation in the country, especially the killing spree of unarmed protestors by police is not only suspect but also a blot on the credibility of ICC,” said Ms Karua.

Read: Kenya opposition leader warns police chiefs

Mr Khan, known in Kenya for his role in defending President William Ruto at the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity, was on August 4 awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Mount Kenya University (MKU) for his immense contribution to the promotion of justice and humanity.

Mr Khan was the lead lawyer who defended then Deputy President (now Head of State) Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua Sang’ when they were charged with crimes against humanity following the disputed 2007 post-election violence.

The duo's case was dismissed by the court in 2016.

Mr Khan took over as ICC prosecutor in February 2021, following the end of the term of Gambian Fatou Bensouda.