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ICC judges reject Ruto, Ali pleas

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – Two post-election violence suspects facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have suffered a setback in their relentless efforts to evade appearing before The Hague based court.

Eldoret North MP William Ruto suffered yet another blow at the ICC after appeal judges handling the Kenyan case on Friday rejected his appeal to stop Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo from seeking summons against him over the 2007/2008 poll chaos.

“The applicant has merely presented a catalogue of "issues" without any substantiation as to whether and how these "issues", presented by the Applicant, significantly affect the fair and expeditious conduct of the proceedings currently before the Chamber,” said the 10 page ruling posted on the court’s website.

The suspended higher education minister had appealed in an earlier rejected application in which he sought to block Mr Ocampo from investigating the case on the basis that he was branded a suspect before full investigations and without being allowed to give his side of the story.

“The Applicant has also not substantiated how an immediate resolution by the Appeals Chamber would materially advance the proceedings before this Chamber.

Consequently, the Chamber cannot grant the Applicant\’s Request,” said the three judges.

Mr Ruto, through his advocates, Katwa Kigen and Prof Kithure Kindiki, had applied for orders temporarily stopping further or other proceedings pending determination of the appeal.

Mr Ruto moved to the ICC last December seeking to bar Mr Ocampo from seeking any summons or arrest warrants or filing any application against him until he is given a chance to present his side of the story.

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In his application, he said he intended to make detailed oral and written submissions, and that he should be heard before the summons or warrants were issued.

Maj-Gen (rtd) Hussein Ali

In the meantime the judges have also rejected an application by former commissioner of police Maj-Gen (rtd) Hussein Ali to be given a hearing by the pre-trial chamber judges who are reviewing his case.

In a suit filed in January 2010, Maj Gen Ali had argued that he was not likely to get justice unless he was involved by the pre-trial chamber which is assessing his case filed by Mr Ocampo.

Maj Gen Ali had wanted to participate including the right to make observations before the Chamber, either orally or in writing, on the substance of the Prosecutor\’s application pursuant to article 58 of the Statute.

In their ruling, Pre-Trial Chamber II Judges Ekaterina Trendafilova (presiding Judge), Hans-Peter Kaul and Cuno Tarfusse However the pre-trial chamber dismissed the application.

“Since the proceedings under article 58 of the Statute are to be conducted with the exclusive participation of the Prosecutor, the person named in the Prosecutor\’s application pursuant to article 58 of the Statute is not entitled to submit observations in these proceedings. The Application shall thus be rejected,” said the 13 page ruling.

The judges however castigated prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo for disclosing his name before the issuance of summons by the Court.

The three Judges ruled on an application made by Maj Gen Ali that it took great exception to the prosecutor’s decision to name the former police boss before a determination by the Chamber on Article 58 application of summons.

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“The Chamber is cognizant of the concerns of the Applicant with respect to the, prejudice suffered due to the public disclosure of his name made by the Prosecutor,” they said.

“In this respect, the Chamber expresses its deprecation regarding the Prosecutor’s course of action in the present case as it has unduly exposed the applicant to prejudicial publicity before a determination of the Chamber pursuant to article 58 of the Statute has even been made.”

The former Police Commissioner is being accused of authorising police to use excessive force in Kisumu and Kibera where hundreds of youths were shot dead by the police.

"They (police) were killing hundreds of people identified as supporters of the Orange Democratic Movement," Mr Ocampo said when he presented his case to the pre-trial chamber judges.

"The  prosecution  considers  that  during  the  PEV  he  authorised  the  use  of  excessive  force  against  ODM  supporters  and  facilitated  attacks  against ODM  supporters."

In December 2010, Mr Ocampo presented to the pre-trial chamber cases against Maj Gen Ali and five others whom he said were responsible for the 2008 post election violence which left some 1,500 people dead and displaced 650,000 others in what is considered the worst political crisis in the country\’s history.

Others on the ICC list are the Head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Tinderet Member of Parliament Henry Kosgey who stepped aside from the Industrialisation Ministry to face abuse of office charges.

Kass FM presenter Joshua arap Sang is the only civilian in the list of suspects.

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