NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang are once again asking the International Criminal Court (ICC) to postpone commencement of their confirmation of charges hearings scheduled for September 1.
They have appealed against Judge Ekatarina Trendafilova’s ruling in which she rejected their request to postpone the hearings.
The duo’s defence teams re further asking for the suspension of the proceedings until the Court of Appeal gives its ruling on the matter.
The defence is also claiming that Judge Trendafilova is rushing them through and as a result they have been unable to submit complete evidence for their clients.
They also claim they have been forced to hurriedly record statements from their witnesses with little time to scrutinise the information.
About a week ago Judge Trendafilova rejected their request to postpone the date of their confirmation of charges hearings.
She said reasons given by their defence teams were unfounded and did not warrant the court’s extension of the confirmation of charges hearings scheduled for September 1.
Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova who delivered the ruling said the explanations given by the three suspects were also not satisfactory as she cited them as a means of delaying the court process.
Meanwhile ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has informed the court that he will require 15 hours to present his charges against Mr Ruto, Sang and Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey as well as cross examine five defence witnesses.
“Assuming that the entire hearing takes 40 hours, this will allow the Defence to have substantially more time than the Prosecution. The Prosecution would, of course, endeavor to use less than the 15 hours, if it turns out that cross‐examination of the defence witnesses will not be necessary,” a statement from the ICC indicated.
The Prosecutor however said it was difficult to determine the exact time he will use on the witnesses from the defence side since he is not aware of what they will say, “Without any information as to what four of the five defence witnesses will testify to or how long any their anticipated direct testimony will take, it is impossible to assume that it will need less time than that.”
However, he complained that the defence was treating the confirmation of charges hearings like the trial period, “The Prosecution observes that the defence’s intent to convert this confirmation hearing into a full‐blown trial on the merits is an abuse of the confirmation process. Confirmation is not intended to be a mini‐trial, an evidentiary hearing at which both sides are to be heard and assessed and guilt determined.”
The Prosecution has also asked the court to reject any efforts to give contradicting or conflicting evidence but instead zero down on facts.
Mr Ocampo has also requested the court to ensure presentation of evidnce by witnesses to the defence be done in closed sessions to protect their identity, “The Prosecution believes that the mere speculation that a person is cooperating with the office of the Prosecutor could put that person and his or her family in danger.”
Mr Kosgey’s defence team has anticipated it will use over eleven hours during the confirmation of charges hearings to make opening and closing submissions and counter charges brought forward.
It also said it will have one live witness who will take about 2 hours