Capital FM (Nairobi)

24 November 2012

Kenya: Local Lawyer to Represent Victims At ICC

Nairobi — The International Criminal Court (ICC) has appointed Kenyan lawyer Wilfred Nderitu as the victims' common legal representative in the case against Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang.

Nderitu replaces Sureta Chana who represented the Kenyan victims during the pre-trial stage.

"The Chamber hereby terminates Chana's appointment as common legal representative of victims in the Ruto and Sang case and appoints Nderitu as common legal representative of victims in the Ruto and Sang case," the communication from ICC indicated.

The trial judges agreed to terminate Chana's contract but with a dissenting opinion from Judge Eboe-Osuji; "Upon evaluation of the personal information and professional skills of Nderitu, the majority hereby decides to appoint Nderitu as common legal representative of all victims in the Ruto and Sang case."

The judges rejected Chana's application as she was not in a position to be in Kenya to interact with the case victims as required. For that reason, the chamber rejected her application despite her meeting all other qualifications.

During the interviews Chana said she did not find it necessary for the victim's common legal representative to have a base in Kenya.

"Whilst Ms Ghana demonstrates the required skills, knowledge and experience required for the position, her application cannot be accepted. The Chamber expresses its gratitude to Ms Ghana for her service to the case thus far. With regard to the current common legal representative of victims, Chana, who was interviewed on the same basis as the other shortlist candidates, the Registry reported that she confirmed that she remained interested and available to represent victims in the case but indicated that she was unable to relocate to Kenya during the trial," the judges ruled.

The chamber said Nderitu met required qualifications and also found him to be the most suitable for his willingness to be in Kenya to work with the victims.

"The representation of the best interest of the victims will in many cases require that the common legal representative be in the field attending to the best interests of victims, while court proceedings are in progress."

The judges said though the victims legal representatives will be in Court representing victims' views, it was critical for them to be in Kenya to meet the victims from time to time, "the representation of the best interest of the victims will in many cases require that the common legal representative be in the field attending to the best interests of victims, while court proceedings are in progress."

Nderitu will work with Irish lawyer Fergal Gaynor who replaced Morris Anyah as the common legal representative in the case against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura.

In its readiness for the trials in April next year, the trial chamber also accepted Kituo Cha Sheria to participate during the trials. Kituo was also allowed to give views of the both the case and situation victims.

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