NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 16 – Postmaster General Maj-Gen (Rtd) Mohammed Hussein Ali wants to present eight witnesses before the International Criminal Court (ICC), when confirmations of charges hearings take place next month.
The application filed by his lawyers Evans Monari and Gershom Otachi comes against the backdrop of a ruling in the initial case against William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Joshua arap Sang that limited each of them to two witnesses.
In the application, Maj-Gen (Rtd) Ali’s lawyers say two witnesses are too few during the confirmation of charges hearings.
“Should the defence be allowed to call the requested eight viva voce (human) witnesses, its case will be more fully explained at the confirmation stage. With such an opportunity it is submitted that the charges would not be confirmed against Ali, thereby materially advancing of the proceedings by virtue of his exclusion from any future trial proceedings,” the application indicates.
Mr Monari told Capital News that it would be unfair for the court to allocate only two witnesses yet the allegations brought forward were grave.
He also said restriction on the number of the witnesses was contrary to expected fairness. “The defence respectfully submits that the decision to restrict the defence to calling a maximum of two viva voce witnesses significantly impacts the fairness of the proceedings, and the ability of the defence to mount an effective defence against the charges.”
Messrs Ruto, Kosgey and Sang had wanted to call 48 witnesses for their case which commences on September 1.
The case against Maj-Gen (Rtd) Ali, Civil Service chief Francis Muthaura and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta is due to commence on September 21.
Meanwhile parties involved in the two cases were preparing for the confirmation of charges hearings.
Some of the lawyers were on Tuesday morning at the Dutch Embassy processing their visas in readiness for the trip to The Hague-based court in Netherlands.
The confirmation of charges hearings is a critical stage of the proceedings since it is the period when it will be determined whether to proceed with the case against the six Kenyans or not.
A decision whether the ‘Ocampo Six’ will stand trial before the international war crimes court is due in December or early January.
Officials of the court say confirmation of charges hearings could take about 20 days, after which the court has another 60 days to confirm or reject the charges.
The 60 days may however start running earlier if the defence completes giving written submissions earlier than the scheduled time but not later than the 20 days allowed.
According to ICC Spokesman Fadi el Abdallah confirmation of charges hearings against Messrs Ruto, Kosgey and Sang will start on September 1 and go on until September 20.
Mr Abdallah says the confirmation of charges hearings are a crucial stage since that is the time that the court decides if it will proceed with the cases against the suspects or not.
Based on the evidence presented by the Prosecutor, the court can stop the entire process, or confirm the charges in total or partly.
The court can also give the Prosecutor more time to modify his evidence or complete his facts.