21 November 2012

Kenya: Irish Lawyer Gaynor to Act for Victims in International Criminal Court Case

Nairobi — Irish Lawyer Fergal Gaynor is the new legal representative for victims participating in the International Criminal Court (ICC) case involving Francis Muthaura and Uhuru Kenyatta.

The former trial attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda will now take up the responsibility of representing the 233 victims participating in Kenya Case 2.

"On the basis of the criteria identified by the chamber in its decision and upon evaluation of the personal information and professional skills of Gaynor, the chamber hereby decides to appoint Fergal Gaynor as common legal representative of all victims in the Muthaura and Kenyatta case," the chamber decided.

Gaynor replaces Nigerian Lawyer Morris Anyah who informed the court that he was not in a position to continue representing the 233 victims that he represented during the pre-trial stage.

"Anyah was given the opportunity to make his views known to the registry on whether or not he would like to be considered as a candidate to continue to act as common legal representative during the trial phase. In response, on 11 October 2012 Anyah indicated to the registry that he was no longer able to continue as the common legal representative in the Muthaura and Kenyatta case," the ICC website indicated.

In an earlier interview with Capital FM News, Anyah who was appointed to represent the Kenyan victims on August 26, 2011, said he was saddened that he had lost several clients of the 2008 post election violence who died under serious suffering.

In its decision, the chamber deemed that Gaynor met the required criteria saying he has rich experience based on his past commitments in criminal litigation and interest in observing interests of victims are prioritised.

"Gaynor fulfils all of the criteria set out in the decision and is willing to maintain an ongoing presence in Kenya. Gaynor has direct relevant experience for the position, demonstrated by extensive previous experience and appears to possess both a genuine interest in ensuring meaningful victims' participation," the chamber indicated.

Sureta Chana has been representing victims in Kenya Case One which is against Eldoret North MP William Ruto and former Radio personality Joshua arap Sang.

On November 15, the Trial Chamber allowed Kenyan NGO - Kituo Cha Sheria to submit observations on victim representation and participation.

This in essence means that Kituo Cha Sheria would be allowed to assist victims to participate in the trials. It will also give views of case and situation victims. Once other parties give their submission regarding the acceptance by the trial chamber, Kituo will also be the common legal representative that will be located in Kenya to work with victims.

Another development at The Hague-based court is the appointment of James Stewart who will deputise ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

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