, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – The defence teams of Joshua arap Sang and William Ruto have asked the International Criminal Court to postpone their trial for four months, saying they are not ready.
When they appeared for the Status Conference on Thursday, the two defense teams argued that the prosecution had changed the evidence presented during the pre-trial stage.
“We would request for a period of up to four months from the last date of a definite disclosure on the part of the prosecution,” Sang’s lawyer Katwa Kigen indicated as he requested for an updated pre-trail brief.
Kigen argued that the Pre-Trial brief had changed because some witnesses had also been dropped from the prosecution’s list. He also asked the prosecution to indicate in the brief if it would use the evidence of witnesses dropped or not to give the defence enough time to prepare its evidence too.
He further told the court that content of prosecution evidence had also changed in reference to the target communities allegedly attacked by the Kalenjin during the post election violence.
He said the scope of the case during the confirmation of charges hearings had changed after the prosecution altered the dates in which preparatory meetings had allegedly been held from the original six to over 20 dates in the latest trial brief.
“Venues where violence took place have tripled during exposure. Dates for preparatory meetings introduced are now over 20. We need to respond to each of the dates,” he charged.
The prosecution however denied that it had withheld evidence and that its disclosure of its witnesses and evidence was in line with the set dates.
However it admitted that it had dropped five witnesses.
The judge asked the defence to make submissions in writing by February 20 after which the prosecution will have up to February 25 to respond.
Uhuru Kenyatta and Ruto, who are smack in the middle of presidential campaigns, took part in the status conference via video link from Nairobi, but Muthaura and Sang were present at The Hague.
All the accused, apart from Muthaura asked the ICC Trial Chamber to let them be attending court sessions via video link from Nairobi, although they affirmed that they would fully cooperate with the court.
The common legal representative for the victims has also requested that victims to the case be allowed to participate in the trials via video link.
Sang’s lawyer said his client is only seeking partial waiver from physical appearance while he also applied to be allowed to reside within 60 kilometres of the court building, as opposed to the current restriction of 30 kilometres.
Trial Chamber V presiding judge Kuniko Ozaki told the accused to make formal submissions by end of the month, upon which the court shall make a ruling on the video link application.