30 May 2012

Kenya: Ocampo Four to Face Yearlong Trials At the Hague

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Luis Moreno Ocampo insists that the security situation in Kenya continues to pose a challenge to ... ( Resource: Kenya: ICC Witnesses Security Under Threat - Ocampo )

Nairobi, Kenya — The four Kenyans accused of crimes against humanity should prepare to spend at least one and a half years at The Hague during their trials.

The prosecution in submissions made on Monday, requested the trial chamber to grant it 12 months of continuous hearing to present its case against the four.

"At this stage, any indication on the anticipated length of presentation of evidence at trial can only be tentative. However, based on the assumption that the chamber sits continuously, without any significant interruptions, the prosecution estimates that the presentation of its case will take approximately 12 months," the prosecution requested.

In their submission, William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang informed the trial chamber that they will require four months after the prosecution submits its final disclosure for them to investigate and prepare for their case.

Francis Muthaura and Uhuru Kenyatta have not indicated how much time they will require to counter the prosecution's evidence.

However, they too will require time to disclose their counter-evidence just like the victims' legal representatives who are also party to the two Kenyan cases who will be required to present their views.

Since the accused have to be present during the trials, it means they will spend not less than one and half years to hear their cases.

This however is a concern for Kenyatta and Muthaura who have asked the court to consider the cases being heard by a special tribunal in Kenya or Arusha.

"The defence requests the trial to be held in Kenya for reasons of judicial economy and to ensure that the judicial process takes place within the territory affected. The Rome Statute provides that the court may sit elsewhere, whenever it considers it desirable to do so," Steven Kay and Gillian Higgins requested on behalf of Kenyatta.

Lawyer Karim Khan argued that he preferred the cases to be heard in Arusha and Kenya to reduce the strain of travelling which has an effect on Muthaura's health. He also said it will help them cut down travel costs including covering their defence parties and their accommodation.

The defence and the prosecution teams have informed the trial chamber that they will require Kikuyu, Luo, Kalenjin, Kamba, Kisii, and Luhya translators.

Ruto and Sang also asked the court to postpone the trial dates until after Kenya's next general elections.

Ruto's lawyers Kioko Kilukumi and David Hooper said their client should be allowed time to lead Kenya in reconciliation in the build- up to the elections and also allow him to express his democratic right of vying for the presidency.

Sang's lawyer Joseph Kipchumba said the trials should be postponed saying that his witnesses are active politicians who will be busy engaged in campaigns before elections are held which is likely to affect his case if trials are held before.

However the court has initially indicated that it is not concerned with Kenya's politics but will adhere to the judicial proceedings.

The prosecution has meanwhile informed the court that it will disclose its witnesses in a system of 'rolling disclosure' due to security concerns about their safety.

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