, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 8 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) trial against Deputy President William Ruto and his co-accused Joshua arap Sang will now resume hearings on November 21.
Trial Chamber V(a) made the ruling before the court adjourned Friday afternoon, with Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji saying that they will sit until November 29.
The judge said that two witnesses were likely to take the stand during that period, as the court attempts to make up for lost time.
“We will resume again in hopes of completing the testimonies of the two witnesses by the 29th of November. The two witnesses would be any two of witnesses P0469, P0535 or the expert witness,” said Judge Eboe-Osuji.
The court further excused Ruto from being present when hearing resumes after one of his lawyer’s David Hooper argued that his presence would be required in Kenya.
Hooper told the court that Ruto has to stand in for President Uhuru Kenyatta who will be attending the 3rd Africa-Arab summit in Kuwait from November 19 to 20.
“As for the excusal request the Chamber will grant the excusal for the 21st of November and the reasons will follow,” said the Presiding Judge.
While Hooper explained that Ruto’s request was an exceptional situation, Senior Prosecution Attorney Anton Steynberg complained that the Deputy President would have been away from the court for 10 days since the Appeals Chamber ruled that he only gets excusal in extraordinary situations.
The Prosecution had requested that the trial resumes on November 21 to give it time to prepare its witnesses but the Defence wanted it to start on November 18 so as to prevent a situation that would force the trial to go into December.
But even as the Defence proposed their date, Hooper maintained that his client would have to be away which did not go down well with Steynberg.
“My learned friend wants to insist that despite the fact that he wants his client to be excused for the first three days that is on the 18th, 19th and 20th, we should nevertheless start on the 18th with a witness that the prosecution does not want to call,” retorted Steynberg.
“And all for what? For the convenience of the Defence team.”
The court was initially supposed to break on November 1 before pushing the date to November 8 owing to other related issues that took a lot of the court’s time.
The court then came up with this other schedule after the trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta was postponed to February 5 next year.