THE HAGUE, April 8 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) will on September 21 start hearing a case whether to confirm charges against Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura and Mohammed Hussein Ali relating to their alleged roles in the 2008 post-election violence.
The hearings will commence three weeks after the start of similar proceedings against William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Joshua arap Sang who made their maiden appearance before the court on Thursday. Their confirmation hearings are set to start on September 1.
ICC judge Ekaterina Trendafilova who presided over Friday\’s proceedings also issued stern warnings against the three suspects that they may face arrest if they make dangerous speeches that may retrigger the violence of 2008. She gave a similar warning on Thursday.
The pre trial chamber declared a status conference for April 18 when the Prosecutor is expected to inform the parties what kind of evidence and the amount of documents he wants to rely on. This, the court said, would be to help the defendants to sufficiently prepare their defence.
In Friday\’s proceedings, lawyer John Philpot for Major General Hussein Ali asked the court to issue gag orders against prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, whom he accused of making extra judicial comments through the media.
Mr Philpot said his client was concerned with the prosecutor\’s comments over possible unrest back in Kenya.
At the same time, Mr Muthaura\’s lawyer Karim Ahmad Khan asked the court to direct the Prosecutor to disclosure the evidence he used when he publicly named the suspects and which formed the basis for issuing summonses.
"It is central to the preparation of the defence and it\’s absolutely vital if the confirmation hearing date is to take place as scheduled," Mr Khan said.
"Instructions given today can hardly be taken as a surprise to the prosecutor. Back in December 15 when he publicly named all the suspects he knew if he got what he wanted, (i.e) the summons to be issue, he (Knew) would be required to give disclosure," he added.
However, Mr Ocampo said that a case by the Government of Kenya which challenges the admissibility of the charges before the court would limit the amount of disclosure he would give.
This prompted Mr Khan to object saying that would prejudice the expeditious disposal of the case against Mr Muthaura and other suspects.
"The filing by a third party, namely government of Kenya, cannot be used as a device to slow down these proceedings or to prejudice to get timely disclosure," Mr Khan argued
The general charges against Mr Kenyatta, Mr Muthaura and Ali which were read to them state: "There are reasonable grounds to believe that they were culpable of committing crimes against humanity consisting of murder, forcible transfer of population, rape, other inhumane acts, persecution in Nakuru, and Naivasha as a co-perpetrator."
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