, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30 – The three-judge chamber that was formed to try four Kenyans at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will first embark on creating a calendar of events before it summons the accused to appear at The Hague-based court.
ICC Spokesman Fadi el Abdallah said among the things the Trial Chamber V will set out will include disclosure of evidence, protection of witnesses and the number of victims who will participate in the process.
“There is need to discuss all the procedural issues, discuss the list of witnesses, disclosure of evidence that the prosecutor has, exploratory evidence to the defence and any necessary protection measures for witnesses that has to be done under the control of the judges,” he explained.
Before the accused start the trials, the defence, prosecution and the victims will be allowed to give their observations to Trial Chamber V.
Abdallah explained that once guidelines and logistical issues are clear, the chamber will then ask Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura, Joshua arap Sang and William Ruto to appear before the court.
He insisted to the accused that their presence will not be optional once the trails start, “no trails are done in absentia.”
The spokesman explained that voluntary appearance will save them from unnecessary restrictions such as being held in detention.
“Whether they be present as free persons or they will have restrictions for their freedom to move or will be in the custody of the court, that will be a matter that will be decided by the judges. But that depends on the cooperation of the accused on their will to voluntarily appear and also with their compliance with the other orders that the judges will have put on them,” he explained.
ICC Outreach Coordinator in Kenya Maria Kamara further told Capital FM News that the trial chamber will also decide if the two Kenyan cases will be merged to be heard at the same time, or if they will be tried separately.
On Thursday the ICC president constituted Trial Chamber V which will try the four accused persons whose cases were confirmed for planning or funding Kenya’s post-election violence in 2008.
The Trial Chamber comprises judges Christine van den Wyngaert (Belgium), Kuniko Ozaki (Japan) and Chile Obeo-Osuji of Nigeria.
The 2008 violence is blamed for over 1,300 deaths, displacement of over 350,000 people, rape, injuries and destruction of property.