, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta now wants to be allowed to take part in his trial at the International Criminal Court through video link “on a regular basis.”
Kenyatta, who took part in Thursday’s status conference via video link from Nairobi, has now been asked to make a written submission of his request and state the legal basis by February 28.
“The defence team of Kenyatta has raised the possibility of the accused to be permitted to participate via video link on a regular basis. Should the team wish to pursue this issue, the chamber requests for written submission in that regard including the legal basis and practical modalities of this request,” Presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki told Kenyatta’s lawyers who were at The Hague.
Former Eldoret North MP William Ruto was also allowed to participate during Thursday’s status conference via a video link.
However, ICC Outreach Programme in Kenya Maria Kamara last Friday indicated that the status conference was different from the trials and it was not obvious that the same can be extended to the trials.
It will however depend on the decision of the trial judges once it receives Kenyatta’s submissions.
During the status conference that lasted for about two hours, Ozaki said the court would not be able to allocate separate chambers to hear the two Kenyan cases.
She explained that they had suggested to the presidency to use Courtroom I for both cases, which they want heard over a period of four hours each every day.
“The most favourable way was to constitute two chambers to hear the cases in parallel. We have been in communication with the presidency recommending in particular that additional judges be assigned to compose two separate chambers. As all parties are aware, this court faces logistical challenges including availability of courtrooms. Use of Courtroom I is the only option,” she asserted.
They will however await a decision of the presidency.
Meanwhile, the judge also announced to the court that the conditions given to Kenyatta, Ruto, former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and former radio presenter Joshua arap Sang will remain the same.
She said the court had not changed summonses to appear and that they will continue to be in effect for purposes of trial.
In 2011, the Court Registrar Silvana Arbia said as long as the suspects comply with the conditions set by the court, their liberty would not be curtailed by arresting or detaining them.
The court had set four conditions which include lack of contact with a victim or a witness. They were also expected to refrain from obstructing or interfering with the attendance or testimony of a witness, or interfering with the prosecution’s investigation.
They are also barred from committing crimes and to attend all required hearings at the court. So far, the four have complied with the court and appeared whenever they were required to do so.