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Lawyer Karim Kahn with Muthaura at The Hague/FILE


Muthaura protests over IT hitch at Hague court

Lawyer Karim Kahn with Muthaura at The Hague/FILE

THE HAGUE, Sep 13 – The lawyer for Civil Service Chief Francis Muthaura has written to the International Criminal Court (ICC) complaining about the IT system which he says is curtailing their preparations for the September 21 confirmation of charges hearings.

Karim Kahn wants the court to amend evidence he submitted earlier to include additional material that he says Muthaura’s defence was unable to upload into the E-Court system before September 5.

“Before the expiration of time limit set by the single judge on 5 September 2011, the defence sought to upload and file into E-Court, an audio recording relevant to its case. Despite its best efforts, the team in Kenya was unable to convert the audio file from its original “.m4a” format into the “.wma” format required for use in Ringtail,” Kahn adds.

Ringtail is a software application programmed to allow document review, litigation document management and case management.

It is also equipped with hi-tech search capabilities, enhanced security and is accessible through the web sometimes to specific users.

Kahn says: “Persistent technical problems encountered both in uploading of its evidence into the system coupled with intermittent Internet and power interruptions encountered in Kenya is to blame for failure to include this evidence.”

Kahn asserts that he noticed that the accompanying text file necessary to allow for content searching for the document was not properly created when he was uploading his evidence.

He is asking the court to allow him to add five more pieces of evidence he was unable to include due to the challenges of using Ringtail.  “The defence alerted the prosecution to this problem and efforts were made, before the expiration of the extended deadline set by the single judge, to transmit this attachment via the secure ICC e-mail addresses of prosecution team members. These attempts were unsuccessful.”

Khan further wants to present more evidence he received on September 6, a day after the deadline lapsed.  He says the evidence is crucial in explaining what the police did in Naivasha during the post-election violence.

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Earlier, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and Radio presenter Joshua arap Sang had raised similar IT concerns complaining that the Internet in Kenya was too slow and had asked the court to extend their date of confirmation of charges hearings. Their plea was however dismissed by the court and proceedings went as scheduled and were completed last week.

Meanwhile, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova has rejected a move to eject the victims’ legal representative Sureta Chana from acting for all the 327 victims of post election violence.

This follows an application filed by lawyers Arthur Igeria, Wambui Njogu, Liesbeth Zegveld and Goran Sluiter representing five victims opposed to Chana.

In her ruling, judge Trendafilova questioned the credibility of the submissions after the five victims signed a declaration saying they did not know Chana and had never spoken to her, yet they had met her in the presence of ICC court staff before the confirmation of charges hearings started on September 1.

The Judge also accused the four lawyers of going against counsels’ professional code of conduct which stipulates that “a counsel shall not address directly the client of another counsel except through or with the permission of that counsel.”

“Since all the five victims on whose behalf the applicants are allegedly acting were represented by Chana at the time they contacted or were contacted by the applicants, the single judge does not find it appropriate that the applicants did not bring the matter of the victims’ alleged discontent with regard to their common legal representation to the attention of Chana, before pursuing any further steps,” she asserted.

Through their lawyers, the five victims said Chana had not represented their interests claiming that the court had imposed her on them.

During the just concluded confirmation of charges hearings Chana alleged that Belgut MP Charles Keter had called a local radio station saying that he knew who betrayed the three suspects.

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