Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya Accused Yet to Reveal If Going to the Hague

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Outreach programme in Kenya said it was yet to be informed if the status conference scheduled for Thursday will be done via video link or if the accused persons will be present in The Hague.

Outreach Coordinator Maria Kamara said the court was also to communicate to them where the video link will be set up and if it will be public or not.

"At this stage we have been not officially informed whether the accused persons will appear in person or prefer the option of the video link. If that happens, the logistics will be duly organised and communicated and if it will be open to the members of public," she asserted.

The ICC on Tuesday gave the defence the option of appearing in person or using a video link during the February 14 status conference.

Kamara explained that in preparation for the conference, the chamber is waiting for submissions from the parties to the two Kenyan cases to decide on the agenda.

However, one of the key issues for the status conference is to keep the defence abreast with the progress of their cases.

The conference will also be seeking to find out if the defence teams and their clients are ready for the trials scheduled to start in April.

The accused persons will also be asked to assure the court if they will appear in person for the trials as required by the law.

The defense will also inform the court of any legal, practical or financial issues they may have in regard to their cases.

Former Radio Presenter Joshua arap Sang has already indicated to the court that he was in need of legal aid.

Former Eldoret North MP William Ruto also requested the court to postpone the date of his trial to give his defence team enough time to prepare.

During the status conference the trial chamber will also decide if the conditions given to the four accused persons will remain the same or will be reviewed with a warning that lack of appearance during the trials could make the court to issue warrant of arrest.

Regarding two applications made by the defense to have the venue of the cases moved to Arusha, Kamara clarified that the judges were looking into the reasons given by the accused and will in due course make a ruling on it.

The judges will also determine if cases against Uhuru Kenyatta and Francis Muthaura should be moved back to the pre-trial chamber following their application in which they argued that evidence used during the confirmation of charges hearings was not included in the evidence disclosed for the trials.

Kamara said the judges can decide to rule on the two applications before or after the start of the trials.

"The matter is before them and they have not communicated the calendar as to when they would issue the response to the concerns raised by the defense. It is possible that the trials could proceed without the judgment or it is possible they want to clear all these preliminary issues before the trials begin, anything is possible in that regard," she explained.

Kamara made it clear that appearance via video link option only applies to the status conference but not the trials.

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