, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 6 – The International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has urged the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber to reject petitions by four Kenyans whose cases were committed to trial.
In contesting the applications by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang, Ocampo says the appeals by the four do not have merit.
Ocampo argued that the appeals by Ruto and Sang did not arise from the decision issued by the Pre-Trial Chamber II, meaning that they had failed to meet proper criteria for leave to appeal as provided in the Rome Statute.
“As established by the jurisprudence of the court, the correctness of a decision is irrelevant to an application for leave to appeal under Article 82(1)(d). The sole question is whether the issue meets the criteria set out in the provision. Reference to the merits of the Decision will only be made when necessary to demonstrate that it does not meet the criteria of the Article,” Ocampo’s application stated in part.
Ruto and Sang have appealed against the court’s jurisdiction to try them with crimes against humanity following the confirmation of charges.
He further discredited Muthaura and Kenyatta’s defence teams which he said concentrated on proving that the Pre Trial Chamber II was wrong to give the prosecutor’s evidence and witnesses credibility.
“The above stated arguments simply demonstrate that Muthaura and Kenyatta do not agree with the chamber’s assessment of the evidence. In brief, the majority did not reverse the burden of proof,” Ocampo asserted.
He further said the two based their appeals on challenging the outcome of the Pre-Trial Chamber II’s reasoning instead of questioning the legal principles used by the chamber to analyse the evidence as required under the Rome Statute.
He concluded that the issues raised by the four were not appealable but ‘mere disagreements’.
“Thus, the issues raised by the defence are actually nothing but “a mere disagreement” with the chamber’s factual findings stemming from its evaluation of the evidence before it. This has been held not to amount to an appealable issue under Article 82 of the Statute,” Ocampo stated.
All the four appealed arguing that the crimes committed do not meet the ICC threshold a point that Ocampo has sharply dismissed in his response to the appeals.
They were also seeking leave from the Pre Trial Chamber II to appeal the ruling issued two weeks ago which saw charges against them confirmed.
Meanwhile, Victims’ Legal Representative Sureta Chana has up to Tuesday to respond to the appeals by Ruto and Sang.
Appeals Chamber Presiding Judge Akua Kuenyehia last Thursday notified Chana that she had five days within which she should give victims’ reactions following the reasons stipulated by Ruto and Sang in their appeal which was filed last Monday.
Ruto and Sang are also allowed another five days to respond to the reactions by the victims’ legal representative. Ocampo has already submitted his response.
Trials cannot proceed until the appeals by the four Kenyans are determined.