, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 27 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has rejected Deputy President William Ruto’s request to lift the suspensive effect to excuse him from continuous presence pending an appeal by the Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
Ruto had on Monday asked the court to suspend the directive requiring him to attend all sessions until Bensouda’s appeal is heard and determined.
The Appeals Chamber said that the decision on Bensouda’s request would be issued in due course.
Trial Chamber V (a) Judges had on June 18 excused Ruto from continuous presence at the court, owing to his State duties, but Bensouda appealed against this decision and on August 20 the Appeals Chamber issued the suspensive effect.
As a result, Trial Chamber judges were forced to lift their decision on Ruto’s request to allow time and space for the determination of Bensouda’s appeal.
“The Appeals Chamber dismisses Mr Ruto’s request for reconsideration of the suspensive effect which was granted to the Prosecutor’s appeal of the decision excusing Mr Ruto from continuous presence at trial,” read a statement from the court.
While throwing his request out, the Appeal Chamber judges argued that they could not lift the suspensive effect because it would be improper to do so before determining Bensouda’s application.
This means that Ruto will have to attend all his trial sessions, once they resume on October 2, and until the Appeals Chamber rules otherwise.
Ruto was given time off from the Court on Monday to allow him attend to the Westgate tragedy.
“The Appeals Chamber therefore found that ‘the consequences of implementing the Impugned Decision prior to the issuance of the judgment on the Prosecutor’s Appeal, would be difficult to correct and may be irreversible’,” read the statement.
Bensouda had asked the judges not to give in to Ruto’s request claiming that it was an attempt to subvert justice and give more reasons why he should be excused from continuous presence after the period for making submissions at the Appeal Chamber had already been closed.
She also said that judges would have a difficult time reversing any decision to excuse Ruto from continuous presence, especially where witnesses were involved.
Bensouda explained that it would not be easy to re-invite witnesses, who might have already given their accounts in Ruto’s absence, back to the court if the Appeals Chamber later directs him to attend all sessions.
“…to avoid irreparably tainting the proceedings by holding a trial on an incorrect legal basis and to avoid the difficulties that may arise should witnesses who testify in Mr Ruto’s absence be unwilling or unable to testify again,” read Bensouda’s argument.