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ICC judges warn Kenyan suspects

THE HAGUE, Apr 7 – The International Criminal Court has warned six Kenyans accused of crimes against humanity that they risk being detained at The Hague if they continue with their public spat that could retrigger the violence of 2008.

Presiding Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova told Messrs William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Joshua arap Sang that the court would not hesitate to order their arrests if they breached the conditions.

“It has come to the knowledge of the Chamber by way of following some articles in the Kenyan newspapers that there are some movements towards retriggering the violence in the country by way of using some dangerous speeches,” Judge Trendafilova said.

The judge said such type of action could be perceive as inducement which may constitute the breach of one of the conditions set out in the summonses to appear namely not to continue committing the crimes within the jurisdiction of the court.

“Accordingly this might prompt the Chamber to replace the summonses to appear with warrants of arrest,” the judge warned.

Thursday’s session of the court was held to inform the suspects the charges filed against them by Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo.

The three suspects were first required to confirm their identities one by one, to satisfy the court that they were indeed the suspects listed in the charge sheet prepared by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo.

Immediately after the confirmation of the suspects’ identities, charges were read to them before the judge asked them to state and confirm if they understood them.

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Mr Ruto said he had been sufficiently informed of the allegations and said that he had made a prior but unsuccessful attempt to get details of the allegations at The Hague.

“I have had occasion to pay visit to office of the Prosecutor to try and ascertain the issues that have been raised and alleged against me,” he said. “The allegations made here sound to me that they can only be possible in a movie.”

But Justice Trendafilova intervened and told Mr Ruto that the Chamber had summoned them after it was satisfied through a majority decision that they found that he allegedly committed crimes as alleged by the prosecutor.

She told Mr Ruto that he will have sufficient time to rebut the evidence the Prosecutor would present when the Chamber will evaluate the evidence at the confirmation of charges hearing. At that stage the court said it will decide to drop the charges or confirm it for trial.

Mr Kosgey also confirmed to the court that he was sufficiently informed of the charges and his rights but said he was not fully informed of the details of the charges. On his part, Mr Sang said he was aware of the charges but maintained his innocence.

The Chamber also set September 1 as the date for hearing of the confirmation of charges hearing. 

The court has also set April 18 as the date when a Status Conference would be held where the suspects, the prosecutor and registry would exchange documents relating to the number of witnesses, the volumes of documents the prosecutor wants to rely on and the kind of witnesses he wants the court to give protection to.

The suspects face the world’s most serious charges of Crimes against Humanity for their alleged roles in masterminding the post election violence of 2008.
The Eldoret North MP’s team of lawyers includes; Lead Counsels David Hooper of The English Bar and Kioko Kilukumi, both to be assisted by Prof Kithure Kindiki.

Henry Kosgey is represented by Nairobi lawyer George Oraro and his is assisted by Julius Kemboy and Allan Kosgey.

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Mr arap Sang is represented by Katwa Kigen and will be assisted by Kimutai Bosek.

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