, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 2 – Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang have now asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) plenary to overturn the decision taken against their request to have the trials held in Kenya or Tanzania.
Ruto and Sang want the court to quash the verdict due to what they termed as gross procedural unfairness meted against them when the decision denying them the Kenya-Arusha venues for their trial was made.
The two ICC indictees further noted that the judges took into account late submissions made by Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who had initially indicated that she did not have a problem with the trials being held in any of the venues.
Ruto and Sang added that Bensouda made new submissions about a day before judges convened to consider the joint defence application.
“Instead of rejecting the late submission by the Prosecution, or alternatively adjourning the plenary session in order to allow the defence and other interested parties to respond, the plenary of judges accepted the Prosecutor’s filing,” noted Ruto’s lawyer Karim Khan.
Ruto and Sang missed having their trial held in the country or Arusha by one vote after nine judges voted for the request while five dissented.
Ten Judges were required to vote for the plea in order for it to be actualised.
While reaching the decision, the ICC plenary had also slammed the Prosecution over the last minute change of heart because it did not give adequate time for other interested parties to respond.
Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji who voted in support of the Arusha or Nairobi venues also raised eyebrows over the timing of the prosecution’s changed filing and an open letter sent to the court by human rights activist Gladwell Otieno.
According to him it was a questionable coincidence that the Prosecutor changed the position only after Otieno’s letter was sent to the court, which also did not follow the due process.
“A further difficulty with the timing of the Prosecutor’s very late change of positions was its timing. It did not occur until the period following the open Letter. It is particularly noted that the author of the open letter had taken issue with ‘recent and potentially forthcoming decisions by the trial chamber’,” he noted when the decision was being made.
Ruto and Sang also took issue with Otieno’s letter and the role it could have played, for the Prosecution to change its mind.
“In addition, the appearance of fairness was undermined by the fact that the Prosecution’s change of position was filed one day after the delivery of the open letter to the president of the court from a known opponent of Mr Ruto,” read the application.
They further expressed concern that the plenary had miscarried justice by allowing Otieno to make her submissions even though she had vested interests in the issue.
“The same individual was also opposed to the recommendation of the Trial Chamber viewing as desirable the commencement of the trial in Kenya,” Khan noted.