ICC officials explain what next after summons

March 10, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 10 – Six suspects expected to appear before the International Criminal Court on April 7 after being issued with summons, will be free to return to Kenya immediately after the hearing.

Legal officers at the ICC also say it could up to seven months for the confirmation of the charges against Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura, Henry Kosgey, William Ruto, Hussein Ali and Joshua arap Sang.

"They will come here (the Hague) on 7th April and on the 8th they can be back to Kenya. The chamber on that day will announce the first day of the confirmation of charges and they will have to come back on that day," Mohammed El Zeidy a legal officer with the pre-trial division says.

They said the suspects will be free as they are yet to be accused.

"They will only be accused after the charges are confirmed and the suspects are sent to trial," added Gilbert Bitti, a senior legal advisor.

The latest information is contained in a TV programme \’Ask the Court\’ that has been launched by the Outreach Unit of the ICC that answers the most frequently asked questions raised by the Kenyan population on the court\’s mandate and its work.  The series will be available on our website www.capitalfm.co.ke/news.

The TV series has been designed to foster interaction between the court and the national population, in particular with those most affected by the post-election violence. It explains judicial developments as they unfold, clarifies the next steps in the court\’s procedures, and enhances transparency and understanding of ICC proceedings.

In the first episode, legal officers said the process of confirmation of charges could take up to seven months.

The pre-trial chamber can however refuse to confirm the charges and stop further trial or ask the Prosecutor to go back and bring further evidence.

"Here the Prosecutor will supply the court with his evidence which will also be supplied to the defence lawyers," the officers said.

"If the charges are confirmed then the suspects will be sent to trial before a different trail composed of three different judges from the trial chamber," Mr Bitti said.

The ICC directed on Tuesday evening that the six suspects to appear in court at The Hague next month.

The six suspects have indicated they will honour the summons.

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