, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has made it clear that no Kenyan suspect will be detained at The Hague when the trials against President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang start.
In a video recording, ICC Spokesman Fadi el Abdallah on Wednesday explained that the three will be required to be present when the hearings start and will be free to leave when there are no proceedings.
“The accused persons will not be detained when they appear before the ICC judges for the trials. There was no arrest warrant against any of the Kenyans accused. There were only summons to appear, they continue to be free as they were all the time complying with the ICC orders and conditions,” he asserted.
He however said the accused persons will be required to be physically present during the trial until the Appeals Chamber rule otherwise following an application by ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to have Ruto attend all sessions of his trial.
Social media has been abuzz with rumours that Ruto will be detained when he attends his trial on September 10.
In the recording, Abdallah also said the Trial Chamber will soon develop a hearing schedule to determine how the trials against Ruto and Sang will run in reference to many factors.
Among the factors to be considered are applications by the parties to the case.
Ruto had requested the court to conduct his hearing within intervals of two weeks break to allow him time to attend to state duties whereas Sang requested for three weeks intervals.
The prosecution has said she is not opposed to the request especially the one of three-week hearings and three week breaks as long as witnesses will be allowed to finish their evidence when they start giving their testimonies.
She said if the breaks are to be allowed, victims should also be considered so that they are not kept for too long waiting to testify.
According to Abdallah, the court will also factor in availability of court room space, recess of the court, judicial holidays, proceedings of other cases at the ICC and among others the requirements of the witnesses
He said the hearing schedule even once in place will be subject to change depending on issues that arise as the cases progress.
The trial against Ruto and Sang which is about two weeks away will mark the beginning of a tough journey to determine their innocence as they claim or their guilt as claimed by the Office of The Prosecutor.
Initially the court had six suspects including former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, former Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey and former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali who were blamed for masterminding the 2008 post election violence that left over 1,000 people dead, over 650,000 others displaced and destruction of property worth millions of shillings.
Kenyatta who is the only accused person in Kenya case 2 is set to prove his innocence on November 12 after charges against his co accused Muthaura and Ali were dropped.