, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11 – The trials of William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang accused of perpetrating the deadly post election violence in 2008 are likely to start in March next year at The Hague.
This was after the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s office and defense lawyers settled on the date on Monday during the opening of the status conference at The Hague. The Trial Chamber will now give its verdict on the proposed date on July 13 when it will also outline a timetable for disclosure.
“The prosecution has no opposition to starting trials after March 2013,” Florence Darquest-Lane of the Prosecution said.
William Ruto’s lawyer David Hooper was also pleased that the prosecution agreed with the March date.
Joshua arap Sang, who was present in court on Monday was represented by Katwa Kigen who also raised no objection to the March proposal.
Presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki directed the prosecution to disclose evidence the soonest possible to allow the defence teams of Ruto and Sang to prepare their cases.
The prosecution however requested the defence to make a commitment in writing that the accused will appear for the trials despite the outcome of the general elections.
“Both the defence and Prosecution have submitted that the trial date should be for March 2013, it is for the Trial Chamber to set the trial date regardless of the dates of elections. We would ask a written undertaking from the accused be produced that regardless of the results of the elections, they would appear for trial,” Lara Renton representing the prosecution requested.
Sureta Chana who is the legal Victims’ Representative said though she had not consulted victims on the date of trials, previously they had indicated that they wanted trials to begin the soonest possible.
Darquest-Lane said the prosecution could not estimate the number of witnesses who required protection since investigations and interviews were on course with a view of bringing additional witnesses to the eight protected witnesses referred to during the confirmation of charges hearings.
The defence further asked Trial Chamber V to keenly review redactions by the prosecution to reduce delays experienced during the confirmation of charges hearings.
Judge Ozaki appealed to the defence and prosecution to agree on a redaction proposal by July 3 to allow the chamber time to review it.
The conference was expected to set the trial dates as well as to resolve issues such as the disclosure of evidence. On Tuesday Uhuru Kenyatta and Francis Muthaura will be represented by their defence teams at their status conference.
The four Kenyans are facing charges of crimes against humanity after the violence that befell Kenya after the 2007 general election.
Sang is the only one who attended the Monday proceedings. The rest will be represented by their lawyers.