NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 5 – Parties to one of the Kenya cases in The Hague have until Wednesday to make submissions regarding the status conference scheduled for Thursday next week.
Already, defence lawyers of former Eldoret North MP William Ruto have made their submission on financial, practical or any other legal matters that will hinder them from being present during the status conference.
The defence teams are required to inform the Trial Chamber V if there are reasons that could make it impossible for the accused persons to be present at the court in The Hague.
“Regarding whether there are any practical financial or legal matters to be dealt with for the accused to be able to attend the trial at the seat of the court, including the modalities of the accused stay on the territory of the host state during the trial.”
They are also supposed to indicate: “If the conditions listed in the summonses to appear issued by the Pre-Trial Chamber are sufficient and adequate for the purposes of the trial.”
Except for the common legal representatives, the rest of the parties to the case including the prosecution are expected to give their views by Wednesday in regards to the status conference.
Based on the submissions of the parties, the court will determine if the accused persons will have to travel to The Hague or not to be present in person during the Status Conference.
In the last status conference, it was mandatory for them to be present at the court.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Professor Githu Muigai is expected to file submission on a request by Ruto and radio personality Joshua arap Sang to have the trials heard in Arusha or Kenya.
The ICC prosecution, the registry and the victim’s legal representatives are also supposed to file submissions on the request by February 22.
In a joint application two weeks ago, Ruto and Sang argued that it will not be practical to have the two trials heard at different locations after an earlier application by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura who requested to have their case brought closer home in Arusha.
“It is impractical to have the two trials heard at different places as far as The Hague and East Africa,” the defence lawyers of Ruto and Sang asserted in their request to the court.
The request was however rejected by the Trial Chamber which advised them to make the request to the ICC presidency.
The judges said their ruling was based on a provision in the Rome Statute that allows the court to sit anywhere if appropriate.
Kenyatta’s defence team requested the trial chamber to consider transferring their case to Kenya or Arusha on basis of high travel costs involved and the fact that the case will be heard nearer to the affected region.
Muthaura’s defence team had also wanted the case to be heard at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha to “reduce disruption and strain that the trial would place on the accused persons and could additionally reduce costs relating to witness travel, reduce disruption to victims and ensure that the judicial process remains in, or in proximity to, the territory concerned.”
The court last year announced that the trials will commence in April this year.