13 February 2013

Kenya: Secret Site Planned for ICC Video Link

The International Criminal Court has settled on a location for the video link for Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Eldoret North MP William Ruto which will however remain secret for security reasons.

ICC Outreach Programme Coordinator Maria Kamara on Wednesday said ICC and Kenyan authorities have worked together in identifying the location and modalities of ensuring the two will participate fully during the hearings via the video link.

"The location of the video link is made confidential for security reasons," Kamara indicated.

They will be able to make their contributions to the court just like former radio presenter Joshua arap Sang and former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura who have already travelled to The Hague to attend Thursday's status conference in person.

The main purpose of the conference is to discuss the conditions of the summonses to appear issued by the Pre-Trial Chamber as well as to address any practical, financial or legal matters related to the attendance of the accused at trial.

Sang had already informed the court that he requires legal aid as he could not afford the heavy costs involved.

The conference will also focus on the stay of the accused in the Netherlands during the trial. The suspects are the first facing trial at the court without being in custody, and this presents logistical challenges.

The accused will also be required to make a commitment that they will be present for the trials scheduled for April.

If the court will not take in any considerations raised by the parties to the two cases the trial date will remain as scheduled for April 10 and 11.

Ruto's defence team had asked the court to give it more time to compile defence evidence while Muthaura and Kenyatta have asked the court to refer their cases back to the Pre-Trial Chamber on basis that some of the evidence used to confirm them for trial had been dropped including the exit of key witness number four.

The defence also asked the court to have the venue of their trails changed from The Hague to Arusha to cut down on travel time, cost and also move closer to the area where the crimes were committed.

Kamara last Friday said the Trial Chamber can rule on the two issues before or after the start of trials but it will also be among the factors that will be discussed during the Status Conference that is supposed to check on the readiness for the trial for all the parties to the two Kenyan cases.

Kenyan lawyer Wilfred Nderitu who is the victims' common legal representative in the case against Ruto and Sang and Irish lawyer Fergal Gaynor the common legal representative for victims in the case against Kenyatta and Muthaura will also make their views concerning the trials.

The prosecution lead by Fatou Bensouda will also give views to the Trial Chamber V under presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki.

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