12 November 2012

Kenya: Top Kenyans Must Try Again to Have Cases Heard in Africa

Arusha — The International Criminal Court (ICC) has rejected on procedural grounds a request from Kenya's Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and ex-Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura to have their cases heard in Kenya or Tanzania, rather than The Hague.

In a ruling dated November 8, 2012, Trial Chamber judges told the defence to "address its application to the Presidency, should it wish further to pursue the option of changing the place where the Court sits."

Kenyatta and Muthaura are charged with crimes against humanity, along with former Member of Parliament William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang, for their alleged role in 2007/08 post-election violence that left at least 1,000 people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands. The four are due to go on trial on April 10 and 11, 2013, at the ICC.

Defence counsel for Kenyatta and Muthaura had proposed that the ICC hear their case either in Kenya or at the premises of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. The defence argued that the change of venue "would reduce the disruption and strain that the trial would place on the accused and could additionally reduce costs relating to witnesses' travel, and reduce disruption to victims."

On August 30, 2011, the ICC Appeals Chamber rejected a Kenyan motion asking to take back the cases under ICC complementarity principles.

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