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ICC judges to issue Kenya verdict on Monday

NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 20 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) will deliver its much awaited ruling on the Kenyan cases on Monday.

A statement posted on the court’s website said: “On Monday, 23 January 2012, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has confirmed that it will issue its decisions to confirm or decline to confirm the charges in the case of The Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto, Henry Kiprono Kosgey and Joshua Arap Sang and in the case of The Prosecutor v. Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mohammed Hussein Ali.”

The court said it will first send the ruling to the parties and participants in both cases before going public.

“The decisions will be notified in writing to the parties and participants in both cases. Thereafter, the Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II will appear publicly in Courtroom I at 11:30 (The Hague time, 1.30pm Kenyan) for the sole purpose of informing the public about the outcome of their decisions,” the ICC statement said.

It however, warned that: “Neither the parties nor the participants will be present in the Courtroom during this public appearance.”

On Saturday, Capital News authoritatively reported that the ruling was scheduled to be issued Monday at 2pm. We also stated that the ruling was to be public.

See separate story here

The statement issued Friday ends days of speculation in the country but is likely to fuel more anxiety from the suspects, their lawyers and the public.

Last week a source had told us that the court usually posts such rulings on their website but this will be the first time the war crimes court will hold a formal session to publicly read out a ruling at the end of confirmation of charges hearings.

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“The last day the ruling was expected was on Saturday, January 21 but since the day falls on a weekend it was pushed to Monday,” a source familiar with the ICC diary told us in confidence.

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has investigated six top Kenyans, three of them aligned to President Mwai Kibaki’s Party of National Unity and three who supported the opposition Orange Democratic Movement of Raila Odinga, now the Prime Minister in the coalition government.

The six are facing charges of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the country’s bloody post-election violence in 2008 in which more than 1,300 died.

Top leaders from both groups; Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta as well as ex-Higher Education Minister William Ruto, are seen as potential presidential candidates in elections set for mid-March 2013. They have both announced that whichever way the ruling goes, their presidential campaigns will not be affected.

Kenyatta, 50, Kibaki’s right-hand man Francis Muthaura, 65, and ex-police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali, 55, are accused of keeping Kenya’s ruling party at the time in power “through any means necessary.”

They face five counts including orchestrating murder, rape, forcible transfer and persecution in the polls’ aftermath, described as “one of the most violent periods in Kenya’s history.”

Opposition supporters Ruto, 45, ex-Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey, 64, and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang, 36, all Odinga supporters, face three counts of murder, forcible transfer and persecution.

What began as political riots after Odinga accused Kibaki of rigging his way to re-election soon turned into ethnic killings.

During the ruling, presiding judge at the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II Ekaterina Trendafilova and her colleagues Hans Peter-Kaul and Cuno Tarfusser will determine whether the prosecutor presented sufficient evidence for the charges to be confirmed.

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The judges can drop or confirm all the charges for all the six suspects or drop some charges for some suspects.

The Prosecutor can also be asked to amend his evidence.

If charges are confirmed, the Pre-Trial Chamber will ask the ICC Presidency to constitute a trail chamber that will try the Kenyan suspects.

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