, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 25 – Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Ex-Civil Service chief Francis Muthaura have now applied to the International Criminal Court Trial Chamber V to postpone setting the date of their trial.
In a joint application filed at The Hague-based court on Wednesday, Kenyatta and Muthaura want the court to invoke its inherent powers to delay the trial date until their challenge of the court’s jurisdiction is determined by the Appeals Chamber.
“The defence for Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and the defence for Francis Kirimi Muthaura hereby request the Trial Chamber to invoke its inherent discretion and exercise its power pursuant to Rule 134(1) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence to postpone the setting of a trial date until the Appeals Chamber has rendered its decision,” they say in the application.
The two – who are facing charges alongside Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang – said it would be in the interest of justice and fair trial that the Trial Chamber awaits the outcome of the appeal.
“The Kenyatta defence and the Muthaura defence submit that it would be contrary to the interests of justice and the fair trial rights of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura, and an inefficient use of court resources, to set a trial date and commence trial proceedings before the Appeals Chamber has made a final determination as to whether or not the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over the present case,” their lawyers said in the application before the Trial Chamber V.
Kenyatta and Muthaura appeared voluntarily before the court at the initial appearance held on April 8, 2011 together with four others but two of them, former Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey and Ex-Police Commissioner Hussein Ali’s had their cases dropped by the Pre-Trial Chamber II.
Charges of crimes against Kenyatta, Muthaura, Ruto and Sang were however confirmed.
Last month, the ICC Pre- Trial Chamber II refused to grant the four permission to challenge the court’s decision that confirmed charges they are facing at The Hague court.
In their ruling, the judges led by Presiding Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova said the issues raised in the application for leave to appeal were mere disagreements with the court’s decision and not arguable points for appeal.
“It follows that the defence’s argument with respect to the existence of an appealable issue arising out of the confirmation of charges decision is constructed on a misconception and misreading of the chamber’s decision. For this reason, the chamber cannot accept the defence’s argument that there is an “appealable issue” amounting from the confirmation of charges decision,” they ruled.
During the 2007/2008 post election violence more than 1,300 Kenyans were killed and over 600,000 others were uprooted from their homes.