, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – A status conference in the International Criminal Court case against Kenya’s president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta and his co-accused Francis Muthaura is due to take place on Monday at 2pm.
The session will focus on an application by the two to have their case referred back to the Pre-Trial Chamber, after witness Number 4, who was key in the confirmation of their charges, withdrew his evidence.
The defence teams of Muthaura and Kenyatta argued that the prosecution allowed the Pre-Trial Chamber to use the evidence given by the witness which led to the confirmation of their charges.
Two weeks ago, the prosecution admitted that it was an error on its part not to inform the Pre-Trial Chamber that the witness had been dropped due to inconsistencies in the evidence he submitted.
However, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in the Kenyatta case, there were other witnesses who gave evidence over the attacks by the Mungiki militia which formed part of the basis for confirmation of the charges.
In the case of Muthaura, she said she was not opposed to his case being referred to the Pre-Trial Chamber since the judges relied solely on the evidence given by witness Number 4 to confirm his case.
During the confirmation of charges hearings, defence teams discredited the prosecution witnesses and accused them of lying to the court.
The prosecution admitted that it had dropped five witnesses in Kenya case 2 (William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang) and seven witnesses in Kenya case 1 (Kenyatta-Muthaura).
The trial of Kenyatta and Muthaura has been set for July 9 while the case against Deputy President-elect William Ruto and his co-accused Joshua arap Sang is set to begin on May 28.
The prosecution had earlier submitted that it was not opposed to trials starting at later date to enable the defence prepare fully.
It also acknowledged the challenges of court space to hear the two cases.
The defence teams of the four accused also asked for extension of the trial date on the basis of high percentage of new evidence that had been released by the prosecution after the confirmation stage.
They also raised concerns over dropping of prosecution witnesses and introducing new ones, some of whom are yet to be disclosed.
During the last status conference on February 14, President-elect Kenyatta did not travel to the Hague and appeared via video link, and will use the same mode during Monday’s status conference.
Sang and Muthaura however travelled to the Hague last time, but it’s not clear if Muthaura is in the Hague for Monday’s conference.
Kenyatta’s defence team requested for him to appear in subsequent trial hearings via video link, but the Trial Chamber is yet to rule on this.