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ICC deals Ocampo second blow in 24hrs

NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 21 – International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Thursday suffered yet another setback in the Kenyan case, after the court dismissed an application he had filed seeking stricter conditions on the six suspects.

Among the conditions Mr Ocampo sought was provision of complete financial information and posting bond in a sum which was to be determined by the chamber.  They were also to furnish the court with additional personal contacts, including mobile phones and emails.

Additionally, the Prosecutor had applied to have the six suspects compelled to make an appearance in person at the court at least once every six months and certify before the Chamber, under oath, that they have complied in full with all the conditions.

In dismissing the application, presiding judge of the pre-trial chamber Ekaterina Trendafilova said Mr Ocampo had failed to demonstrate that there was any change in circumstances to warrant such additional conditions imposed on the suspects.

"The Prosecutor\’s request should be supported by proper grounds, showing the change of circumstances that would justify the adoption of any additional measure, in particular when one or more of these measures had already been rejected under the circumstances in force at the time of the previous ruling of the Chamber, on 8 March 2011," the ICC ruling states in part.

The judge added: "The wording used by the Prosecutor would presumably imply that between 8 March 2011 and 6 April 2011, the date of his request, the Prosecutor has collected information or evidence showing the risk that, should the conditions imposed remain the same, the suspects would not continue to appear voluntarily and would be likely to obstruct or endanger the investigation or the Court\’s proceedings."

The judge observed that the Prosecutor had failed to identify in his request any change of circumstances in the abovementioned period that would lead him to seek before the Chamber an amendment of the conditions imposed on 8 March 2011.

"In light of the foregoing considerations, the single judge concludes that the additional conditions sought by the Prosecutor under rule 119(2) of the Rules lack any justification and his request must therefore be rejected," she concluded in her ruling dated April 20 at The Hague, Netherlands.

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Judge Trendafilova said the chamber was satisfied that summonses to appear were sufficient to ensure the person\’s appearance, but warned that the Pre-Trial Chamber may at any time decide to amend the conditions set pursuant to sub-rule 1."

Soon after Mr Ocampo filed the application, defence teams for the six suspects submitted their objections saying the Prosecutor had not provided reasons to justify his request for modification of the already existing conditions.

They said "the particular conditions requested by the Prosecution are both unnecessary and inappropriate."

On Wednesday, the same judge dismissed an earlier application which Mr Ocampo had filed to block disclosing his evidence, pending the determination of a case filed by the government challenging admissibility of the Hague trials.

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