, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 9 – The International Criminal Court’s Trial Chamber has set April 10 and 11 next year as the commencement dates for the trials in the two Kenyan cases before it.
A statement from The Hague based Court declared that the cases against Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang should start on April 10, 2013 while that of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura will commence on April 11.
The four are accused of perpetrating the post-election unrest of 2008 that killed at least 1,300 people.
Kenyatta and Ruto are potential candidates in presidential elections set for March 4 next year and prosecutors have voiced concern over potential unrest should one of the accused be seen as being favoured over the other.
Both Ruto and Kenyatta have proclaimed their innocence.
The violence shattered Kenya’s image as a beacon of stability in east Africa when the then opposition leader Raila Odinga accused President Mwai Kibaki of rigging his way to re-election following the 2007 polls.
The statement also establishes a time table for the various procedural steps required to be undertaken before the opening of the trials to guarantee the fairness of the procedures.
According to the International Criminal Court trial Chamber V, the trial will commence on April 10, 2013, a month after the elections if they are held in March.
The announcement came as the African Union renewed its efforts to seek the referral of the crimes against humanity cases facing the four Kenyans.
In order to ensure the expeditious conduct of the trial pursuant to Article 64(2) of the Rome Statute and to facilitate the preparation of the parties and participants, the, Chamber issued the following schedule leading up to trial:
“The prosecution and the defence teams for both accused are directed to liaise with a view to reaching agreement about non-contentious issues. The first joint submission on agreed facts is to be filed by 3 September 2012,” read a ruling by the Chamber.
In order to assist the Chamber and the Witnesses Unit, the prosecution is to file a provisional list of witnesses to be relied on at trial. This list should include a bullet-pointed summary of the main facts on which each witness is expected to testify.
“Additionally, the prosecution should indicate the estimated length of time required for each witness and the total time for the presentation of the prosecution case, in hours. The prosecution is also to provide a provisional list of the material it intends to rely on at trial. The prosecution is to file the provisional witness and evidence lists by 16 October 2012,” read the schedule.
The prosecution and the defence for both accused are to liaise in order to discuss the joint instruction of experts, and the prosecution is to revert to the Chamber on the outcome of these discussions by 31 October 2012.
The prosecution is to provide its witness list, which should include a bullet-pointed summary of the main facts on which each witness is expected to testify, an indication of the estimated length of time required for each witness and the total time for the presentation of the prosecution case, in hours. Both the witness list and the list of evidence are to be submitted by 9 January 2013.
Prosecution disclosure to the defence of all incriminatory material in the form of witness statements and any other material to be relied on at trial, as well as disclosure of all material for inspection to the defence should be completed by 9 January 2013.
The prosecution shall provide a document explaining its case with reference to the evidence it intends to rely on at trial. This document will be referred to as the “pre-trial brief”.
The pre-trial brief is to be filed by 9 January 2013.
The statement reads: “The pre-trial brief should contain, for each count, a summary of the relevant evidence of each witness to be relied on at trial and all other evidence upon which the prosecution intends to rely, and shall clearly explain how the evidence relates to the charges.”
Prosecution disclosure to the defence of identities of International Criminal Court Protection Programme (ICCPP) witnesses should be completed by 11 February 2013 while disclosure of the reports of any expert witness who will be called during the prosecution case should be completed by 14 February 2013.
The second joint submission on agreed facts (including agreements as to evidence) is to be filed by 8 March 2013. This will however be preceded by the Second joint filing session where the prosecution and the defence teams for both accused are to liaise with a view to reaching agreement on facts as well as the authenticity of evidence.
Any party which is unable to agree to a proposed stipulation shall reflect the reasons and indicate the factual basis for this disagreement in an annex to the joint filing.
Prosecution disclosure to the defence of identities of non-ICCPP prosecution witnesses with security concerns who have been the subject of an application for delayed disclosure should be completed by 12 March 2013.