NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 29 – Focus returns to the International Criminal Court this week, as confirmation of charges hearings for three of the Ocampo Six suspects begin on Thursday in The Hague.
Those expected to appear before the court are Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.
The hearings are scheduled to last until September 12 and will be before Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC, comprising judges Ekaterina Trendafilova (presiding, Hans-Peter Kaul and Cuno Tarfusser.
Mr Sang who departed on Sunday for the Netherlands expressed confidence that the confirmation of charges against him would not succeed, since the allegations are false.
“I do not care because if they get my evidence, definitely there is no way they are going to confirm this case. And if they do, it is okay, because it will be a great day for us to take our witnesses and embarrass Luis Moreno Ocampo and the ICC,” he said.
He also pointed out that hearings would enable the truth about what really happened to emerge.
“If they give us an opportunity to question those witnesses, we will demolish whatever they have against us because these are guys who just sat somewhere and prepared something fictitious,” he stated.
Mr Ruto was in the meantime expected depart for The Hague on Monday evening to attend the confirmation of charges hearings.
During prayers before his journey held on Sunday, the Eldoret North Legislator expressed confidence that he would overcome what he termed as “tribulations at the International Criminal Court.”
“I had been invited by my kinsmen who wanted me to pray with them ahead of my trip to The Hague. But because I chose to come here to worship with you on the eve of my journey to the Netherlands speaks volumes of how I value Meru,” Mr Ruto said.
Mr Kosgey was due to leave for the Netherlands on Tuesday night for the hearings related to the 2008 post election violence. His lawyers are already in The Hague.
A confirmation of charges hearing is held to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that each suspect committed each of the crimes they are being charged with.
Both Mr Ruto and Mr Kosgey are allegedly criminally responsible as indirect co-perpetrators for the crimes against humanity of murder, forcible transfer of population, and persecution.
Mr Sang allegedly contributed to the commission of the crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Kenya in the context of the 2007-2008 post-election violence.
If the charges are confirmed for a suspect, the Pre-Trial Chamber commits the person to trial before a Trial Chamber, which will conduct the subsequent phase of the proceedings which is the trial.
The Pre-Trial Chamber does not make a decision about the suspects’ innocence or guilt but during the proceedings, the prosecution is expected to push its case through documents, or by calling witnesses or experts.
The defence team may also choose to present witnesses’ testimony while legal representatives of victims authorised by judges to participate will also make their submissions.
A total of 327 victims have been cleared to participate in the cases facing Mr Ruto, Mr Kosgey and Mr Sang while 233 have been granted to participate in the case facing Francis Muthaura, Uhuru Kenyatta and Maj-Gen (Rtd) Hussein Ali who are facing the second case which is due to start on September 20.
However, the victims will not be attending the sessions but their lawyers will be present.
The Pre-Trial Chamber II will after 60 days either confirm one or more of the charges for trial, or dismiss all of them, for one, two or all the suspects.
In such a situation, the prosecution can at a later date provide more evidence on the declined charges and seek confirmation again.
The Pre-Trial Chamber may also adjourn the hearing before giving their verdict and ask the prosecution to provide more evidence or to amend the charges if the evidence establishes a different crime other than the one the suspects have been charged with.
If the charges are confirmed, the persons charged would be presumed to be innocent until their guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt before the Trial Chamber.