, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 2 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre Trial Chamber is expected to rule by the third week of January 2012 whether six Kenyans shall face a full trial over the 2008 post election violence.
In an interview on Capital in the Morning, ICC spokesman Fadi el Abdallah said that once the suspects in the second case give their submissions to the court by the November 21 deadline, there will be an allowance of 60 days for the Pre Trail Chamber to debate if the two cases will proceed to trial.
“Within these 60 days after the November 21, we expect the decisions of the two cases,” he explained.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and Postmaster General Hussein Ali who are in the second case have up to November 21 to give their written submissions to the court.
Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and Radio Personality Joshua arap Sang gave their submissions by October 25.
The court ruled last week that it would deliver its verdict on both cases at the same time.
Abdallah said the judges will be examining the evidence from the prosecution, the defence and the victims to determine if the cases should proceed to the trials.
“The judges are debating; is there enough evidence to go to the trials? They are not asking if (the Kenyans are) guilty or not.”
The spokesman explained that the trial stage is expensive since the suspects have to physically be at the court hence the crucial need for the judges to thoroughly examine the evidence before making a decision.
“That is why confirmation of charges hearings is necessary,” he asserted.
Abdallah reiterated that the judges can rule in four different ways;
All the charges can either be rejected or accepted in their totality, the prosecutor can be asked to do further investigations or make amendments to his evidence.
Alternatively the judges can confirm charges against some individuals or drop some charges.
Abdallah also clarified that ICC is impartial in its investigations and does not target any groups or countries but individuals who are suspected to bear the highest responsibility of crimes committed.
“ICC is a judicial institution. There is no possibility to take political consideration to account when judges are deciding. The ICC only deals with the persons suspected of being the highest responsible for mass crimes, and these people are not ordinary people,” he explained.
He added; “There is no prosecution against a political party, an ethnic community, the government, only individuals with the highest responsibility.”
Abdallah further said investigations against the Ocampo six were not politically investigated as he argued that the prosecutor would not be interested in fighting a losing battle if he does not have evidence against his suspects.
“If the ICC prosecutor has evidence against some people, he can ask the judges and present a case. But if he doesn’t have a case he cannot go to a losing case. That is why the prosecutor presented certain cases,” he explained.
He also corrected some of the common misperceptions in Kenya that the ICC was about Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo.
He said the court has four crucial organs and Ocampo only heads the prosecution arm.
“It is the prosecution that brings the cases before the judges. Remember that only the judges have the full picture and authority to decide on the request of the prosecutor. Even for the summonses to appear, the prosecutor requested then the judges decided on it,” he asserted.
The ICC Outreach Coordinator in Kenya Maria Kamara urged Kenyans to understand there were clear differences between witnesses and victims, “Victims do not have to appear before the court like we saw during the confirmation of charges hearings, and they were represented by two lawyers who presented their views and concerns to the court.”
“While for the witnesses they mostly appear in person unless in the situation where the prosecutor thought at that stage it was not necessary to bring live witnesses and so he relied on documentary evidence and not live witnesses,” Kamara clarified.