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ICC rejects bid to drop rape charges against Kenyans

THE HAGUE, Sep 13 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has rejected a bid by Civil Service chief Francis Muthaura, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Postmaster General Hussein Ali to have charges of rape and sexual assault against them dropped.

In her ruling, judge Ekaterina Trendafilova observed that the prosecutor’s evidence contained “all the relevant submissions in sufficient detail to meet the formal requirements established in the Rome Statute and Rules and Regulation of the court.”

“The single judge considers that the challenges raised by Muthaura’s defence team cannot be upheld. In particular, the single judge takes the view that it is a prerogative of the prosecutor to proffer charges against the suspects,” judge Trendafilova ruled.

The suspects also claimed that Luis Moreno-Ocampo ambushed them by introducing new evidence, which altered his case.

Earlier, the court allowed Kenyatta to replace one of his witnesses to give evidence before the International Criminal Court when confirmation of charges hearings kick off on September 21.

Judge Trendafilova gave Kenyatta’s defence team 24 hours to make a confidential filing of his new witness and give details of the proposed testimony of each of his witnesses.

However his other request to have additional evidence was rejected in the basis that it would be like having a third witness instead of the two allowed.

The three are supposed to appear before the Pre-Trial chamber on September 21 for the commencement of their confirmation of charges hearings.

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The suspects in the first Kenyan case, William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Joshua arap Sang returned to Kenya over the weekend after completion of their confirmation of charges hearings. They now await a decision of the court whether they will face trial which is expected by January 2012 at the latest.

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