NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 12 – Uhuru Kenyatta and Francis Muthaura have differed on their preferred commencement dates for their trials at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
When they appeared in court for a status conference on Tuesday, Muthaura’s lawyers said he wanted the trials to start as early as September this year, while Kenyatta’s defence team concurred with the prosecution’s wish that the case kick off in March next year.
Kenyatta’s lawyer Stephen Kay argued that their case, which is categorised as Kenya Case Two by the court, should take place either concurrently or after the hearing of Kenya Case One involving William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang.
“The narrative of the case is important. The prosecution’s case in Kenya One should start, then Kenya Two later. The fact of the matter is Kenya One needs to be considered first,” Kay emphasised.
However, Muthaura’s counsel Karim Khan told Trial Chamber V judges that his client does not want any further delays to the case.
“If we had disclosure of evidence yesterday, we would have the trail within a short period of time. I mean we would be happy to have a trial by this summer… call it September,” he said.
He explained to the court that Muthaura, who was present in court, was eager to clear his name from the accusations made against him as he urged the prosecution to release the evidence it has the soonest possible.
The legal representative for the victims Morris Anyah, concurred with Muthaura’s preference saying that victims wanted the trials to begin as soon as possible.
On its part, the prosecution expressed willingness to have both cases tried simultaneously (from March 2013), citing concerns of security and the need to reduce tension in Kenya.
“We can be ready this year but we have issues with redactions, disclosure, witness security and finally because we believe as a policy it is best that the two cases are synchronised,” Prosecutor Adesola Adeboyejo requested.
The prosecution further told the court that it was considering bringing between 25 and 35 witnesses at the trial stage in the Muthaura – Kenyatta case.
On Monday, Ruto and Sang’s lawyers concurred with the prosecution that the trials should begin around March next year.
The court is due to deliver its verdict on that as well as other issues discussed at Monday’s status conference on July 13.