NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 17 – Lawyers for the six Kenyan suspects accused of planning the violence that killed some 1,500 people soon after the disputed Presidential elections of 2007 have converged at The Hague ahead of Monday’s status conference at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Some of the lawyers left the country on Friday while others went there on Saturday ready to represent their clients who were told they may choose to stay away, as long as they send their legal counsel.
Pre-trial chamber II presiding judge Ekaterina Trendafilova said the status conference would be held this Monday to enable parties from both sides have an open session.
She made the ruling when the six suspects—Kenya’s influential leaders and a journalist—made an initial appearance before her and two other judges at the ICC on April 7 and 8 respectively.
The suspects include Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura and former Police Commissioner Maj Gen (rtd) Mohammed Hussein Ali.
Others are suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto, Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and KASS Fm radio Presenter Joshua Arap Sang who are all accused of varied roles in planning or financing the election chaos that also displaced some 500,000 people.
Some of the displaced families are still living in camps in various parts of the Rift Valley Province—one of the most affected parts of the country during the chaos.
On Sunday, lawyer Evans Monari who is teaming up with Gerishom Otachi told Capital News that they were already in The Hague preparing for Monday’s status conference. The two are working together with Canadian lawyer John Philpot in defending the former police commissioner.
Lawyer Ken Ogetto who is working with Karim Khan to solidify Muthaura’s defence are also in The Hague already.
Other lawyers expected in The Hague for the status conference include Dr Kithure Kindiki, Mr Kioko Kilukumi and Mr Katwa Kigeni for Mr Ruto.
Lawyers for Mr Kosgey, Sang and Uhuru were reported to have arrived in The Hague for the status conference.
According to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence before the International Criminal Court, the general purpose of the status conference is to answer procedural questions that parties and participants may submit to judges, in order to facilitate the fair and expeditious conduct of the proceedings before the trial begins.
Some of the lawyers have already applied to receive evidence and other related materials the ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo is in possession of to enable them start preparing a strong defense for their clients.
Ocampo is however, arguing that the release of the evidence he has will endanger his witnesses and others who are seen as potential witnesses.
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