ICC judges say no stopping Kenya cases

April 4, 2011 12:00 am
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 4 – The International Criminal Court has set aside an application by the government seeking to have the admissibility of the Ocampo six case heard before the suspects appear in court later this week.

The Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II say the Rome Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence do not provide for any specific time-limit during which the Judges should make a decision regarding this application, and that the ongoing judicial proceedings will not stop.

A brief statement from the ICC on Monday said the judges were in the process of reviewing the application.

"The Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II have received the Application on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Kenya pursuant to Article 19 of the ICC Statute and are currently in the process of reviewing the application," the statement on the ICC website said.

It added: "The Rome Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence do not provide for any specific time-limit during which the Judges should make a decision regarding this application, and the ongoing judicial proceedings will not stop."

Attorney General Amos Wako announced last Thursday that the government had hired Counsels, Geoffrey Nice QC and Rodney Dixon, Barrister-at-Law to handle the suit.

"This is to confirm that Counsels, Sir Geoffrey Nice Q.C. and Rodney Dixon, Barrister-at-Law have today, on behalf of the Government of Kenya, filed an application pursuant to Article 19 of the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC), respectfully requesting the Pre-Trial Chamber to determine that the two cases currently before the ICC are inadmissible before the I.C.C," Wako said at the time.

But even as the government filed the admissibility case, the ICC warned that the suit had little chances of success because Kenya has not established a credible judicial mechanism to try the suspects locally.

The Outreach Unit of the ICC advised last month that such plans could only succeed if the persons accused were facing similar charges at their local national courts at the time of challenging The Hague trials.

Sources privy to the suit filed in The Hague told Capital Newsbeat that the government had argued that the cases against the six individuals are not admissible before the ICC because the country is in the process of reforming its judicial and police systems to be able to try them at home.

Those required to appear at The Hague include Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of the Civil Service Ambassador Francis Muthaura, suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto and Tinderet Member of Parliament Henry Kosgey who stepped aside to face charges of abuse of office.

Others are former Police Commissioner Mohammed Hussein Ali and Radio presenter Joshua arap Sang of Kass FM.

Mr Sang, Mr Ruto and Mr Kosgey are due before the court on April 7 while Mr Kenyatta, Mr Muthaura and Maj Gen (Rtd) Ali will make an appearance on April 8.

Their summonses to appear were issued last month following a majority ruling by the Pre-Trial Chamber judges who established that the six are criminally responsible for organizing or funding the post election violence which broke out in the country soon after the disputed presidential elections in 2008.

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