NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has given the government of Kenya 10 days to respond to issues raised by Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo in opposing the government\’s suit on the admissibility of the case against six Kenyans.
The government had wanted the court to give it at least 30 days to respond to issues raised by Mr Ocampo and the Office of the Public Counsel for the Victims (OPCV) in opposing the challenge by Kenya.
The court ruled that it would only be fair for the court to grant Kenya only 10 days for the expeditious disposal of the case.
Those facing charges at The Hague are Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, the head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura and former police chief Hussein Ali. Others are suspended Cabinet Ministers William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.
"The Chamber is aware of the delicacy of the admissibility challenge, the main subject-matter under consideration, which goes to the heart of the States\’ sovereign rights. Nonetheless, the Chamber is also duty-bound to draw a balance between the competing interests at stake. It must ensure that proceedings are fair in the sense that, inter alia, the Government lodging the challenge enjoys the opportunity to respond to the parties\’ and participants\’ observations, but equally expeditious in order to avoid unnecessary delays of the entire proceedings," the judges ruled.
"Bearing in mind these considerations, the Chamber deems it sufficient to grant the Government of Kenya the ten days time limit provided in Regulation 24(5) of the Regulations, to respond to the written observations submitted by the Prosecutor, the Defence and the OPCV on 28 April 2011, and to engage solely with the relevant issues as raised in the observations received."
Read the full decision here.
The Government has challenged the case against the six Kenyans saying the sovereignty of the country would be at stake, adding that a local mechanism is in the process to have them tried locally.
The State will now have until May 13 to respond to issues raised by Mr Ocampo and the counsel of the victims.
Meanwhile Mr Ocampo has once again lost a bid to appeal against the decision of the court directing him to disclose all evidence he has against the six suspects.
Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova, while throwing out Mr Ocampo\’s appeal, said the Prosecutor was not required to give an in-depth analysis of evidence. The judge said the disclosure of evidence before confirmation of charges will not affect the fairness or speed of the proceedings.
Mr Ocampo had claimed that disclosing the evidence would seriously affect his case and witnesses. He also said that if forced to disclose the evidence he would need at least 421 days to organise himself.
Read the full decision here.
The six Kenyans appeared before The Hague-based court on April 7 and 8 for preliminary proceedings over charges of crimes against humanity.
The Court will start confirmation of charges hearing on September 1 for Messers Ruto, Kosgey and Sang.
The confirmation hearing for Messers Kenyatta, Muthaura and Major General (Rtd) Ali will begin on September 21.