Kenya ICC suspects seek clarification

March 28, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – Three International Criminal Court (ICC) suspects want the The Hague based court to clarify on an order blocking them from contacting witnesses.

Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, and former police commissioner Hussein Ali have expressed concern that the order is ambiguous and may block them from contacting their own defense witnesses.

They now want the court to substitute the order to read ‘Prosecution witnesses.’

Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova sitting at the ICC’s pre trial chamber II certified the matter as urgent on Thursday and ordered Mr Ocampo to file a response by Monday evening.

“Cognizant of the principle of expeditiousness, and considering that the subject matter of the Defense’s Request warrants a prompt resolution, the Single Judge deems it necessary to reduce the time limit provided for in regulation 34(b) of the Regulations, should the Prosecutor wish to respond to the said request,” the Judge ruled.

“For these reasons, the single judge orders the Prosecutor, should he wish to respond to the Defences\’ Request, to file his response no later than Monday, 28 March 2011, at 16:00 hours,” the ruling issued on Thursday last week states.

In the application filed by the defence counsel for Mr Kenyatta, Amb Muthaura and Ali, the suspects had asked the chamber to modify the word "witness" with the words "prosecution witness", thereby affirming their right to contact "potential defence witnesses".

The application was in response to an order issued earlier barring them “from having contact directly or indirectly with any person who is or is believed to be a victim or a witness of the crimes for which they have been summoned for.

The trio is among six suspects summoned to appear at The Hague on April 7and April 8 in a majority ruling issued earlier this month.

The other three are suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto, Tinderet North MP Henry Kosgey and KASS FM Radio Presenter Joshua Arap Sang.

All the six suspects have expressed willingness to make that initial appearance at The Hague as ordered by the Judges but they have all maintained innocence on crimes facing them.

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