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Ruto, Sang challenge ICC jurisdiction

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio personality Joshua arap Sang now want to challenge the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) jurisdiction and the admissibility of their case before hearings on confirmation of charges begin next month.

Their defence teams have written to the court saying they would like one hour each to argue out their reasons for challenging admissibility and jurisdiction.

“The Defence intends to challenge both jurisdiction and admissibility in respect of the cases against Mr Ruto and Mr Sang. The Defence notes Rule 58(2) which allows challenges or questions concerning jurisdiction and admissibility to be joined to confirmation proceedings as long as this does not cause undue delay, in which circumstances the Pre-Trial Chamber shall hear and decide on the challenge or question first,” a statement on the ICC website indicated.

The defence teams have said they will give oral and written information in their quest to challenge admissibility and jurisdiction.

The court however has reminded them that they have to submit official documents from the government: “ The Defence’s intention to present arguments on admissibility is however contingent on the receipt of all relevant and necessary documents from the Kenyan authorities; in the absence of these documents the Defence cannot argue admissibility as part of the confirmation hearing.”

The two defence teams have further asked the court to rule on the challenge before the confirmation of charges hearing for the second case which starts on September 21.

The two suspects have further requested to be given each one hour for opening remarks and four hours to analyse the prosecution evidence and submit their defence evidence.

After that, they want to be allocated another one hour each for their closing submissions.

For purposes of saving time, the Defence also told the court it preferred that ‘the parties and the Pre-Trial Chamber not to spend in-court time viewing lengthy audio or video files, and that instead reference simply be made to them during the course of submissions and witness testimony’.

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According to the statement on the ICC website, the Defence teams want the court to allocate them about five hours to re-examine every witness directly but has also requested for more time where translation maybe required: “The Defence requests that the viva voce (human) witnesses be heard after all of the other arguments. The Defence has previously indicated that it will call two viva voce witnesses for Mr Ruto and two viva voce witnesses for Mr Sang. The Defence requests a maximum of five hours for direct and re-examination of each witness; additional time may be needed for translation.”

This follows a request by Presiding Judge Ekatarina Trendafilova who asked the six suspects to breakdown the time they may require for the purposes of scheduling the timetable to be used during the confirmation of charges hearings scheduled for next Thursday.

Sureta Chana who is representing victims of the post election violence has requested for one and half hours for his opening and closing statements on behalf of the victims.


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